SOUTH KINGSTOWN, RI – Governor Dan McKee was joined by state, federal and local leaders today to ceremoniously sign legislation dedicating three state bridges in South Kingstown in honor of three local Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. The bill signing was part of the Town of South Kingstown's 300th anniversary celebration to acknowledge the town's history and pay tribute to three local military heroes.
"It's so important to understand and appreciate our local history, especially when it comes to honoring our veterans. I thank the Town of South Kingstown and their 300th Anniversary Steering Committee for bringing us together to sign this bill, recognize local history, and pay tribute to these three Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. We are grateful for their service and the service of all who have served our nation bravely," Governor McKee said.
The three Congressional Medal of Honor recipients are Sgt. William James Babcock – 2nd Rhode Island Infantry U.S. Army (Civil War); Sgt. William Grant Fournier – 25th Infantry Division U.S. Army (World War II); and Cpl. David Bernard Champagne – 1st Marine Division U.S. Marine Corps (Korean War).
"I commend South Kingstown for using this 300th anniversary celebration to honor three outstanding residents – Sgt. William James Babcock, Sgt. William Grant Fournier, and Cpl. David Bernard Champagne – whose remarkable service and sacrifice in defense of our country earned them our nation's highest military honor," said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a former Army paratrooper and Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"South Kingstown has a long military history that makes our state and country proud," said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. "I am pleased to mark its 300th anniversary and honor Rhode Islanders Sgt. William James Babcock, Sgt. William Grant Fournier, and Cpl. David Bernard Champagne for their courageous service to our country."
"Sgt. William James Babcock, Sgt. William Grant Fournier, and Cpl. David Bernard Champagne answered the call to serve and wore our nation's uniform with pride and honor," U.S. Congressman Seth Magaziner said. "They come from South Kingstown's longstanding tradition of military service, and I'm proud that the town is honoring these brave heroes and their sacrifice for its 300th anniversary."
Senator V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown) and Representative Teresa Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, Narragansett, South Kingstown) led the effort in the Rhode Island General Assembly to push the bill through.
"Senator Sosnowski and I are delighted to have the timing of the bill signing and the bridge dedication unveilings during the town's 300th anniversary," said Representative Tanzi.
"As South Kingstown celebrates 300 years, and we take stock of our history, we celebrate the sons and daughters of our town who rightfully make us proud. These three Medal of Honor winners are an inspiration to us all. They are also a reminder of the countless men and women who have served – and who continue to serve – so selflessly so that the residents of our town – and our nation – can live in peace and prosperity," said Senator Sosnowski.
"As South Kingstown commemorates its 300th anniversary, this is an exemplary opportunity to honor the service and sacrifice of three Congressional Medal of Honor recipients," said Secretary of State Gregg M. Amore. "These heroes are an important part of South Kingstown's history, and I thank Governor McKee, the South Kingstown 300th Anniversary Committee, and all those involved in ensuring Sgt. William James Babcock, Sgt. William Grant Fournier, and Cpl. David Bernard Champagne are remembered for years to come through these dedicated bridges."
"As the town reflects on 300 years of history, South Kingstown is honoring three of its decorated heroes with the dedication of these bridges to Sgt. William James Babcock, Sgt. William Grant Fournier, and Cpl. David Bernard Champagne," said General Treasurer James A. Diossa. "These men not only answered the call to service in defending our nation, but also embodied South Kingstown's and Rhode Island's spirit of patriotism and valor. I am grateful for the opportunity to join fellow state and local leaders to mark this occasion."
The three state-owned bridges to be named in honor of South Kingstown's Congressional of Honor Recipients are:
US 1A Main Street – Saugatucket River Bridge on US 1 A Main Street, over the Saugatucket River, designated as the Sgt. William G Fournier Medal of Honor Bridge.
Peace Dale Stone Arch RI 108 Kingstown Road – Saugatucket River Bridge, Peace Dale Stone Arch, on RI 108 Kingstown Road, over the Saugatucket River, designated as the Sgt. William J. Babcock Medal of Honor Bridge.
108 Kingstown Road – Indian Run River Bridge, on RI 108 Kingstown Road, over the Indian Run River, designated as the Cpl. David J. Champaign Medal of Honor Bridge.