The South Summit Street bridge in Arkansas City will be renamed after a fallen soldier with Kansas ties.
The bridge, which is maintained by the state and provides the southern entrance and exit into Ark City, will be renamed the Sgt. Kevin A. Gilbertson Memorial Bridge during a special dedication service next week. A commemorative sign will be installed at the location.
The ceremony is at 11 a.m. Aug. 3 at the southeast corner of the bridge. It will be officiated by state Sen. Larry Alley (R-Winfield), Col. Anthony T. Murtha and Gilbertson’s platoon leader, Maj. Nate Strickland.
Gilbertson, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was 24 years old when he was shot on Aug. 29, 2007 by enemy forces during his second tour of duty in Ramadi, Iraq. His survivors include a wife, infant son and stepson.
Although Sgt. Gilbertson’s hometown was Cedar Rapids, Iowa, his mother and step-father, Keeley and Randy Frank, live in Kansas and travel near the bridge being named after him.
Gilbertson joined the Army out of high school and enlisted for another six years of service before he was fatally wounded during his second tour in Iraq, his mother noted.
“He’s our hero, he was awesome, he was a leader,” she said.
Gilbertson was part of the 1st Battalion, 77th Army Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team and the 1st Infantry Division.
His awards include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Award, Army Achievement Award and the Combat Action Badge.
The 1st Infantry Division Color Guard will present the colors, along with Taps and a 21-gun salute at the close of the presentation.
Gilbertson’s parents live in Hillsboro. Randy Frank was born and raised in Arkansas City and said he and his wife are planning move to Ark City upon his retirement.