OAK HILL, WV (LOOTPRESS) – On July 10, 2022, Senator Stephen Baldwin (D-Greenbrier) gathered with the Cruse family to dedicate the Central Avenue Bridge to J.W. Cruse, Jr.
Cruse was born on March 30, 1924, in Oak Hill. He raised his family in McRoss, just down the road from the bridge which is now named in his honor.
Cruse served in the US Army during World War II from July 13th, 1944, to December 18, 1945, when he was honorably discharged. During his service, he was a T/5 under George Patton with the 2nd Armored Division, nicknamed “Hell on Wheels”.
While he was serving, he had four brothers also deployed for active duty during WWII. He received a Purple Heart after being wounded in action on the Rhine River. He was also awarded the Bronze Star.
In a picture taken during his service, Cruse is seen cracking a smile after learning that Germany had surrendered and the war was over. In that moment, he and his unit were only 10 miles outside of Berlin.
Approximately 40 members of the Cruse family gathered for the bridge dedication this past weekend near their homeplace. “Daddy probably wouldn’t like all this attention he’s getting, but he deserves it,” said his daughter, Judy Cruse Dean, at the ceremony.
“Every time folks drive by this bridge, they will remember J.W. as a beacon of bravery and a member of the greatest generation. His service and sacrifice will live on forevermore,” remarked Senator Baldwin as the sign was unveiled.
Senator Baldwin and Senator Jack David Woodrum (R-Summers) sponsored the bridge naming resolution, which passed the Senate this year after first being introduced in 2018 by Baldwin with the help of Don Cruse & Chris Schroeder (Appalachian Service Project).