Conn. town to rename bridge in honor of sailor killed in 2017 USS John S. McCain collision
By ADAM HUSHIN | The Journal Inquirer | Published: December 31, 2020
SUFFIELD, Conn. (Tribune News Service) — The Board of Selectmen in Suffield, Conn. has decided to rename a local bridge in honor of U.S. Navy sailor Dustin L. Doyon, 26, a lifelong resident who died in 2017 in an accident while serving aboard the USS John S. McCain destroyer off the coast of Singapore.
The selectmen voted to rename the bridge after Doyon at their meeting last week.
Selectman Jerry Mahoney, who was particularly close with Doyon and his family, presented the motion and shared a few personal experiences and memories of Doyon.
"It was really my highest honor on behalf of everyone in town," Mahoney said in reference to presenting the motion. "I had known Dustin from the time he was a young boy."
Mahoney graduated from Suffield High School in 1981 with Doyon's father, Brian Doyon.
Mahoney said he babysat Dustin growing up, and later Dustin returned the favor by babysitting Mahoney's children. In 2015, Doyon enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he thrived, Mahoney said.
"He really found himself in the Navy," Mahoney said. "He was just excelling in that environment."
His budding career in the Navy was cut short in 2017 when he and nine other sailors were killed when the USS John S. McCain destroyer collided with an oil tanker off the coast of Singapore in the early morning hours of Aug. 21.
First Selectwoman Melissa Mack said the whole town was in mourning after Doyon's death.
"It was a terrible loss for the town," Mack said.
She said the renaming of the Remington Street Bridge would ensure that Doyon and his sacrifice won't ever be forgotten.
"At that time, our devastated community vowed never to forget the ultimate sacrifice Dustin made serving his country," Mack said. "I am honored that the town of Suffield Board of Selectmen will be fulfilling that promise on behalf of our community."
According to Mack and Mahoney, there was no debate amongst the board, and the motion to rename the bridge passed unanimously.
"As soon as someone came up with the idea everyone thought it was fantastic and wanted to move forward," Mahoney said.
The decision to rename the bridge came after the project to replace the structure, which took up most of the past year, was completed.
The bridge, which crosses Stony Creek on Remington Street between Poole Road and Prospect Street, was replaced under the Federal Local Bridge Program, with additional support from state and town funds, Mahoney said. The bridge was closed for the last six months.
The completion of the bridge replacement also signifies the final major project of Town Engineer Gerry Turbet, who is set to retire in the coming months after 32 years of service to the town, Mack said.
"It is truly the most beautiful bridge and the crown jewel of Gerry's distinguished service with the town of Suffield," Mack said.
She added that a ceremony for the renaming of the bridge would take place in the spring when the landscaping has been restored and the weather is nicer.