At 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 2, 2006 the long process of getting the Legislature and the State Department of Transportation on board Richard Rabisa’s project to rename the Berkeley Street Bridge out of Tillicum area of Lakewood across I-5 reached fruition.
Richard Rabisa cuts the yellow ribbon at the entrance to the newly named Freedom Bridge where Berkeley Street in Tillicum crosses I-5 to the entrance to the Madigan Hospital area of Ft. Lewis. To the left of Rabisa is State Senator Mike Carrell who pushed the process through the legislature.
With the cutting of the yellow ribbon Rabisa, a Tillicum area resident, finally felt he had satisfied his need to do something to honor the military personnel shipping out to the war zone in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has been his project since he witnessed members of the 81st Infantry go active and depart for combat duty.
After some stumbling with government at the wrong jurisdiction Rabisa finally got on the right track with the department of transportation in Olympia. However, a request to rename a freeway crossing bridge coming from the citizenry was apparently an untested process, and Rabisa recruited the support of State Senator Mike Carrell of the 28th legislative district.
Veterans motorcycle clubs salute the military and their families for their sacrifice by being the first to cross over the newly named Freedom Bridge, then circling around to ride underneath. Above, members of military and community families wave flags at the traffic as many have done each Saturday since the war on terrorism began with troops being sent into harms way.
The rest was smooth going as the legislature had no quarrel getting behind such a feel-good project. This past session the project became a bridge named Freedom Bridge. Now Rabisa is going to work to convince the City of Lakewood to install a small monument at the Freedom Bridge access from Tillicum to further honor the service men and women that pass through the bases around Lakewood.
Submitted by Ed Kane,