The Illinois Tollway this week recognized Medal of Honor recipient Allen J. Lynch by naming the bridge over the Tri-State Tollway (I-94) after him.
Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur, state officials and military veterans gathered on Wednesday for the unveiling of a new sign that officially designates the Grand Avenue Bridge as the “Allen J. Lynch Medal of Honor Overpass.”
Lynch received the Medal of Honor for his actions in Vietnam in 1967, when he rescued three wounded soldiers trapped by enemy fire. He is one of less than 3,400 people to receive the award.
“This is a daily reminder of the heroism and sacrifices made through the years by all of our veterans,” Governor Pat Quinn said during the bridge-naming ceremony. “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 added. “We salute his bravery and also thank him for the work he has done through the years advocating on behalf of other veterans.”
After serving in Vietnam, Lynch continued to serve in the Illinois National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve until 1994. He has also worked with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, where he was a benefits counselor assisting disabled veterans, and he was chief of the Illinois Attorney General’s Veterans Rights Bureau until he retired in 2005.
He 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.”
See below for more photos from the ceremony. All photos courtesy of the Illinois Tollway.
Editor’s Note: This story was edited on July 7, 2014, to change all mentions of Lynch winning the Medal of Honor to reflect that he received the medal.