Bridge named in memory of Master Sgt. Davis

By Megan R. Harrell
STAR STAFF
mharrell@starhq.com

   Master Sgt. Jefferson Donald "Donnie" Davis was memorialized during a ceremony at the bridge on U.S. Highway 400 south, known as the Bristol Bridge, Thursday. Davis' family gathered with local state legislators to witness the unveiling of the sign bearing his name.
   County commissioners petitioned the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) last January to rename the bridge in honor of the local hero.
   "Senator Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) and I are honored to be in a position to name the bridge after a brave, American soldier who lost his life in serving our country," Rep. Ralph Cole (R-Elizabethton) said. "Donnie Davis played on and under this bridge as a boy and it is fitting that the bridge be named in his memory."
   Davis died on Dec. 5, 2001, as a result of friendly fire near Kandahar, Afghanistan. After graduating from Elizabethton High School, he went on to become a master sergeant with the Army's elite Green Beret unit. Davis also served as a medic in the Army.
   "Because of the sign on this bridge Donnie Davis will be remembered for years and years after all of us are gone," Rep. Cole said. "I feel very humble to be here and in the company of Donnie Davis' mother, father, and his other family members."
   TDOT will replace the bridge with a new four lane bridge within the year; however, Davis' name will not be removed. The sign will simply be transferred to the new bridge when it is completed.