Burns’ bill honoring local serviceman passes House

Legislation would name bridge after WWII Seaman Louise J. Benzie

HARRISBURG, June 8 – As a staunch supporter of the miltiary, veterans and their families, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, today is pleased to report that a bill naming a bridge after a local serviceman killed in World War II was unanimously approved by the state House of Representatives.

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

“Like so many other young men of his generation, Seaman Louis Benzie gave his life in service to his nation and the ideals that we hold dear,” Burns said. “Renaming a local bridge in his honor is a simple measure to recognize his and others’ sacrifices, and ensure that their actions and service will never be forgotten.”

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.