SUMMERS COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — At just 17 years old U.S. Navy Seaman Donald Homer Wheeler put on a uniform to serve his country.

“Many times in our country’s history there are entire generations that go off to serve this country and sometimes they don’t all come back,” said Senator Jack Woodrum.

U.S. Navy Seaman Donald Homer Wheeler lost his life on Saturday, July 15, 1961, in a tragic accident at just 19 years old. He was stationed on the USS Boston, serving our country.

“We’ve waited all these years to finally honor him for that service. He put on the uniform of this country when he was barely 17 and he left this world when he was barely 19, but he never took the uniform off,” said Delegate Roy Cooper.

On Saturday, August 20, 2022, the Willow Wood Bridge in Summers County, was renamed the “U.S. Navy Seaman Donald Homer Wheeler Memorial Bridge” to honor and remember the sacrifice he made for our country. This is the first bridge to ever be named after an individual veteran in Summers County.

“This bridge has been dedicated to his honorable service to our nation and we would like to thank Senator Woodrum and Delegate Cooper for their unwavering perseverance through legislation in getting this name put on this bridge,” said, Bobby Cales, Wheelers nephew.

The location of the bridge is also significant to their family because they were raised right up the road.

“They were raised just short of here on Camp Lightfoot Road so it is kind of a special geographical location for the family,” said Cales.

A name that will live on forever and be remembered every time you cross that bridge.