As we've reported, the most popular thing for Missouri elected officials to do this week is to propose bills and send out press releases in support of naming the Mississippi River bridge the "Stan Musial Memorial Bridge" in honor of the late, great Cardinal. A lot of regular folks support the idea, too.
But there is a growing group of Missouri residents that have a different idea, and there starting to get a lot of attention. Their proposal? The Andy Gammon Memorial Bridge.
Gammon was a worker who died in a bridge accident on the job last year -- and someone who, his family says, deserves this kind of honor.
The family recognizes it could be a bit of a long shot.
"Stan Musial is a great man, a wonderful man," says Tammy Propst, sister of Tracy Gammon, the widow of Andy, who left behind two young children when he died in March. "Our family totally respects him and, yes, he is a St. Louis [icon].... But let's not forget how Andy gave his life on that bridge to build that bridge. He was a hard worker. He worked hard for his family and he was a wonderful person."
There is momentum building for the idea of honoring Gammon, who was 35 and working on a crane on the bridge when he was knocked off and fell into the Mississippi River. His two young children are now eight and nine years old.
"At this point in time, anything to memorialize the death of Andy -- something for his children -- is really what we are looking for," says Propst.
But naming the bridge after him would be the most meaningful way to honor him and his work, she adds. "That would be a wonderful end result."
Propst says the family has been getting inundated with news inquiries and messages of support -- and now they are reaching out to some local elected officials to join the cause as well.
Given that he died helping to construct the bridge, it's only right that he be officially recognized there, she says.
"Tragically, because of the work he did, he is no longer with us," Propst says. "This is very important to us. He leaves behind two small children and they know that their daddy died in a horrible accident. As they grow up and they begin to have children, it would be a special thing to them.... When they tell the story of what happened, there'd be this memorial...in honor of your grandfather and great-grandfather."
If the bridge ultimately is not named after him, she says she hopes that there is still a meaningful tribute for Gammon on site. "We are looking for some type of a memorial to know that he didn't go in vain."
Propst adds, "It would be a healing process for my sister as well."
Continue for more photos of Andy Gammon and his family.
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