ROADS/BRIDGES: Illinois bridge named after Medal of Honor veteran

July 2, 2014

Vietnam vet Allen J. Lynch singlehandedly rescued three wounded soldiers trapped by enemy fire

Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur on July 2 joined state officials and military veterans to salute Medal of Honor winner and Vietnam veteran Allen J. Lynch by formally naming a bridge over the Tri-State Tollway (I-94) in his honor.

During a ceremony just ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, Lafleur, Lynch and other dignitaries unveiled a new sign officially designating the Grand Avenue Bridge (Illinois Rte. 132) over the Tri-State Tollway as the “Allen J. Lynch Medal of Honor Overpass.”

The Illinois General Assembly earlier agreed to rename the bridge in honor of Lynch, who won the nation’s highest award for valor for his actions in Vietnam in 1967, when he singlehandedly rescued three wounded soldiers trapped by enemy fire. Fewer than 3,400 men and women have ever been awarded the Medal of Honor.

“This is a daily reminder of the heroism and sacrifices made through the years by all of our veterans,” Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said. “We are proud to honor Mr. Lynch with Allen J. Lynch Medal of Honor Overpass, and his courage and dedication set a lasting example for all of us.”

“We are thrilled to honor Mr. Lynch for his service to our country,” Lafleur said. “We salute his bravery and also thank him for the work he has done through the years advocating on behalf of other veterans.”

Following his active duty in the U.S. Army, Lynch served with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, where he worked as a benefits counselor assisting disabled veterans. Lynch, who was born in Chicago and now lives in Gurnee, later worked as chief of the Illinois Attorney General’s Veterans Rights Bureau until retiring in 2005.

He served in the Illinois National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve until 1994.

Lynch now operates the Allen J. Lynch Medal of Honor Veterans Foundation, which provides financial assistance to veterans searching for work, going to college or paying medical bills.

“I’m pleased the Tollway and the General Assembly have named this overpass for me,” Lynch said. “I hope this designation helps people remember and respect the tremendous service provided to our country by all of our veterans.”

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