(L-R): State Sen. Terry Link, former State Rep. JoAnn Osmond, Allen J. Lynch, Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Assistant Director Rodrigo Garcia and Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur stand in front of Grand Avenue Bridge sign.
Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur recently 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, Executive Director Lafleur, Lynch and other dignitaries unveiled a new sign officially designating the Grand Avenue Bridge (Illinois Route 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,” 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,” Executive Director 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.”
“Allen Lynch is a true hero who has worked tirelessly throughout his life on behalf of other veterans,” said State Sen. Terry Link, who sponsored the resolution renaming the bridge in Mr. Lynch’s honor. “We are lucky to have him in our community.”
“Heroes like Allen Lynch should prompt all of us to remember the sacrifices made by our veterans and inspire us to do all we can to support them and their families,” said former State Rep. JoAnn Osmond, a co-sponsor of the resolution.