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House OKs Naming Bridges & Airports (HB246)


HB 246 honors veterans and notable locals from Cordova and Minto

Monday, March 5, 2012, Juneau, Alaska – Veterans and local heroes from across Alaska will be honored by renaming bridges and airports following House passage today of facilities naming legislation.

House Bill 246, sponsored by House Finance Co-chair Bill Thomas, honors 14 deceased U.S. Armed Servicemen and an Eyak elder from Cordova with bridges in their names, and renames two Interior Alaska airports.

“Cordovans have a strong sense of duty; duty to their country and to their people. The City of Cordova came forward with a plan to repay these unique Alaskans for making the ultimate sacrifice for their country and community, by honoring their names and heroism on currently un-named bridges. It’s a small, but poignant and permanent way to thank them,” Thomas, R-Haines, said.

The servicemen are identified below by conflict:

World War I          

James Bennet

William M. Jones

Steve Green

Lucian Platt

Mathhew Anderson

W.H. Mumby

John W. Jones

World War II

Patrick B. Burchett

Norman D. Osbourne

Leonard F. Olson






David Henry Elisovsky

David Allen Lape

Warren Allen Paulsen

Michael Dean Banta




Eyak elder Marie Smith Jones is also honored with a bridge named in her honor. Thomas said the City of Cordova wants to recognize her for her tireless efforts to catalogue and preserve the dying Eyak language.

Two rural airports would be renamed under the bill; both folded in from separate bills proposed by Rep. Alan Dick, R-Stony River.

The Koyukuk airport, in Western Alaska northwest of Galena on the Yukon River, would be renamed the Koyukuk Station Veterans’ Airport at the request of the community, in honor of the native vets from the area who’ve served their country. The Minto airport, northwest of Fairbanks, would be officially renamed the Al Wright Airport, in honor of the long-time rural aviator and founder of Wright’s Air Service.

“’What’s in a name?’ people always say. Well, in this case, a lot. Alaska Natives have served their country for decades, and naming the Koyukuk Station Airport in their honor is important. They’re role models in their community, and this will serve as a living reminder to all those who travel through it of the pride people have in those who serve and in the sacrifice they make,” Dick said.

HB 246 now moves to the Alaska Senate for consideration.

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