The Rowlett City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting an effort to ascribe the name “Heroes Bridge” to the State Highway 66 bridge between Rowlett and Rockwall.
Life Message’s founder and president Chris Kizziar presented the proposal to the council Aug. 4.
Kizziar stated that in 2018 Life Message was in collaboration with the Third Watch Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club and the 99 Percent Radio Network to begin a mission to raise awareness for the loss of fallen heroes through suicide through the initiative #walkthebridge.
“The purpose of the initiative was to draw that attention to the approximately 22-plus veterans and first responders who take their own life on a daily basis. Initially we did a symbolic-type walk, which was about 11 people who walked a mile up and a mile back, which was for 22 miles, and so that’s how we began this in-depth approach in 2019,” he said. “Once we started raising awareness in 2019, the Veterans Resource and Outreach Center was established to provide solutions to help combat their daily challenges with a commitment to address their most recognizable needs, which is what we do here from mental health, housing, transportation, job placement, (to) the VA claims and of course food. The mental health aspect is one of our biggest ones. Since opening the VROC we’ve assisted now over 1,800 veterans.”
Kizziar stated that as a result of the #walkthebridge initiative a new effort was established to honor veterans and first responders who have “given so much to our country and have fallen short in escaping their past.”
“The naming of the Lake Ray Hubbard bridge to Heroes Bridge and then to ultimately establish a park, which we hope to call Heroes Bridge Memorial Park at some point, are two monumental ways of bringing awareness and honor to the fallen,” he said. “We like to call it a place of honor and a place of reflection.”
Kizziar informed the council that they’ve already received signed resolutions from the state, which were co-authored by Sen. Bob Hall and Rep. Rhetta Bowers. They previously went before the Rockwall City Council for the same consideration, which it unanimously approved supporting. Following Rowlett’s support they will take this resolution to the city of Dallas.
“We have another big group called Blue H.E.L.P. They’ve already committed about $150,000 to this project. So we are moving forward with our bigger plans,” he said. “We are going to be hopefully unveiling some of these on Sept. 26, which is the Hands Across the Bridge, which is the National Police Officer Suicide Awareness Day. So we will be hosting that, barring any real problems with COVID.”
“It’s really a reminder to all of us that this is a problem, and we want to make sure that we address it and bring it to the forefront of our conversations and then provide the solutions, which is exactly what we’re going to do,” he added. “And then we’re going to remember all those folks who have lost their lives to things they’ve dealt with in the past.”
The renaming ceremony is scheduled for 9 a.m., Sept. 26 at the bridge.