October 14, 2010
Las Vegas, NV—Nevada Senator Harry Reid today joined federal and state officials from Nevada and Arizona in dedicating the O’Callaghan-Tillman Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge. The bridge is being named after former Nevada Governor Mike O’Callaghan and Corporal Pat Tillman honoring the dedication and sacrifices the two men made for their nation. Senator Reid was instrumental in securing funding for the bridge, which will alleviate traffic between the two states and ensure the safety of the Hoover Dam. Construction began in 2003 and the bridge will be opened to traffic next week.
Below are Reid’s prepared remarks:
“First, I want to thank the O’Callaghan and Tillman families for being here, and all of our distinguished guests. I also want to recognize Sue Broadbent. This bridge was the dream of her husband, Bob. Almost 30 years ago, when he was the commissioner of reclamation, Bob Broadbent proposed the bridge we’re dedicating today.
“There is no more appropriate place to honor two of the West’s most towering figures – two of its most impressive men – than here at the West’s most towering and most impressive landmark. There is no more appropriate symbol than this bridge to represent the lives of two men who had a gift for finding common ground between different sides.
“Other than my wife, Landra, I’ve never had a closer friend than Mike O’Callaghan. He was my teacher and mentor – not just at Basic High School in Henderson, where we first crossed paths in a classroom, but throughout my life.
“The son of a union man who built bridges in the Pacific Northwest, Mike was born to bring people together. More than anyone I’ve ever met, he was born to serve others. He was a United States Marine, served in the Air Force and fought in the Army. He was a sergeant and platoon leader in Korea, where he left behind his left leg.
“When Mike came home, he continued to serve. He was our state’s beloved governor for eight years. It was one of the great honors of my life to serve alongside my friend as his lieutenant governor. Mike always respected others’ commitment to service and knew the sacrifices they made. Like every American, he knew the story of Pat Tillman. He was so proud when he saw Pat had decided to join the military – and knew he did so not in the name of fame, but for freedom.
“I never had the honor of meeting Pat Tillman. But I share the nation’s admiration for him: a humble hero who wanted nothing more than to be seen – and who would want to be remembered – as a regular guy.
“When Nevadans, Arizonans and all Americans will look up at this new structure, we will see strength and power. That’s exactly what we all saw when we saw the two warriors whose names and generations will forever be connected to each other, and to this bridge.
“And by the way, as long as I’m Nevada’s senior Senator, I will do everything in my power to make sure the Boulder City bypass is fully funded. Mike and Pat were as strong in their personal lives and they were powerful in their professional lives. They were loyal to their state, their country, their families, their teammates, their troops and their friends. And within six weeks of each other in the spring of 2004, both left before we had a chance to say goodbye.
“I miss Mike every day. I know the Tillmans miss their son and brother every day. I thank both families for letting us name this new landmark after Mike’s and Pat’s proud legacies.
“Their service honored our country. And for generations to come, people will come to this beautiful place from all over the Southwest, all across the country and all around to world to honor their good names.”