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Bill would honor seaman

Burns seeks to rename bridge for Dysart native

HARRISBURG — State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, has introduced a bill to name a bridge after a local serviceman killed in World War II. The bill was unanimously approved by the state House of Representatives.

Burns’ H.B. 150 would designate a bridge on state Route 53 over Laurel Run in Dean Township as the Seaman 2nd Class Louis J. Benzie WWII Memorial Bridge.

Benzie, a native of Dysart, served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Assigned to the destroyer U.S.S. Maddox, he became a member of Task Force 81, the assault force for the invasion of Sicily, Italy.

On July 10, 1943, Benzie’s ship was attacked by a German dive bomber while on anti-submarine patrol 16 miles off the shore of Sicily — taking a direct hit, rolling over and sinking within two minutes. Benzie was killed in action at 18, his body was never recovered, and he was declared dead on July 11, 1944. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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