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November 12, 2012

Veterans Day 2012: Ellwood City bridge renamed to honor Sabo

NEW CASTLE — Veterans Day was the backdrop for honoring a local hero Sunday.

The former Ewing Park Bridge in Ellwood City is now the Sgt. Leslie H. Sabo Memorial Bridge. The tribute follows the posthumous awarding of the Medal of Honor to Sabo earlier this year.

A former Ellwood City resident, Sabo was killed in action in Cambodia in 1970. He was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama. The recognition came years after Sabo was recommended for the nation’s top medal because the Pentagon had lost track of his paperwork until a fellow veteran doing research rediscovered it.

According to Army reports from the time, Sabo was 22 when his platoon was ambushed. The record describes how Sabo personally attacked enemy troops, drawing fire away from fellow soldiers. He also was credited with saving the life of a wounded soldier by picking up a grenade and tossing it away.

Although injured, Sabo then attacked an enemy bunker with a grenade. Sabo died in that assault.

The Medal of Honor is awarded to members of the armed forces who distinguish themselves conspicuously by gallantry above and beyond the call of duty.

Sunday’s bridge rededication is the latest in local efforts to honor Sabo and his sacrifice. The Lawrence County commissioners agreed to rename the county-owned bridge, which crosses the Connoquenessing Creek near Ewing Park in Ellwood City.

County and other local officials were on hand for Sunday’s ceremony, as were several of Sabo’s family members, including his widow, Rosemary Sabo-Brown, and his brother, George Sabo, who both spoke during the program.

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