Bridge to be named in honor of Walton war hero

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Jun. 16—A bridge in the village of Walton will be renamed to honor a Medal of Honor recipient from that community.

According to a media release from the office of Assemblyman Joseph Angelino, R-Norwich, a bill to honor Lt. Stephen H. Doane passed the Legislature unanimously in both houses in the final stretch of session last week. The bill was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Mike Martucci, R-New Hampton.

The bill allows for a portion of the state highway system, the bridge over the West Branch of the Delaware River on state Route 206 between Delaware Street and Stockton Avenue in the village of Walton, to be designated the "Lt. Stephen H. Doane Memorial Bridge."

"'Greater love has no one than this: that someone lay down his life for his friends.' Lt. Stephen H. Doane exemplified this kind of sacrifice; his heroic acts saved the young men he led that day in Vietnam," Angelino said. "I hope the naming of this bridge offers some comfort to the remaining family members that Stephen will never be forgotten. I encourage those in Walton and all who pass over this bridge to learn about the heroism of Lt. Doane."

"This is a fitting tribute to a man who exemplified what selfless service is," said town of Walton Supervisor Joseph M. Cetta.

Walton village Mayor Ed Snow said to Angelino,"I would like to thank you and Sen. Martucci for all your hard work in getting the bridge in Walton dedicated to Lt. Stephen Doane. It means so much not just to his family but to the community of Walton. It is a job well done by you and we appreciate it very much."

According to thew release, Doane was a resident of Walton and a graduate of Walton Central School. On March 12, 1968, he graduated from the U.S. Army Infantry Officers Class as a second lieutenant.

In March 1969, while serving as the platoon leader with Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division in Hau Nghia Province in Vietnam, his company faced enemy forces as it was carrying out tactical operations. Many of his men were wounded and trapped by enemy crossfire, so much so that it would be difficult for another team to rescue the men, the release said.

Doane, in the midst of this attack, managed to crawl to the nearest enemy bunker to silence it. While wounded, he then moved on to the second bunker while carrying a live grenade. He successfully delivered the grenade to the enemy bunker, but also sacrificed his life in the action. He was 21 years old.

Doane was posthumously awarded the military's highest honor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in the Vietnam War. He is the only Medal of Honor recipient from Delaware County. The citation from the US Military ends saying, "Lt. Doane's supreme act enabled his company to rescue the trapped men without further casualties. The extraordinary courage and selflessness displayed by this officer were an inspiration to his men and are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army."

Doane was also awarded a Silver Star for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States and a Bronze Star for heroic service in a combat zone. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.