HAZARD — Friends and family gathered for a ceremony on Sunday to honor the late Sgt. Barry Andrew Combs, whose name now adorns a local bridge that carries hundreds of vehicles over the Kentucky River each day.
The dedication was held at Combs’ alma mater, Hazard High School, where he graduated in 1998. He joined the military in 2000. Just one year later the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked.
Combs, the son of Hazard City Manager Carlos Combs, fought in the earliest days of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he served on the front lines. He passed away a little over a year ago.
“Now not only was Barry serving in the military to preserve our freedoms, but he was active military during a time of war,” noted keynote speaker Major Daryl Cornett.
Excerpts from his journal during his time in war were read by Major Cornett, describing the horrors of war he saw firsthand while fighting for freedom. He was remembered fondly by family who described him as having a big heart. “We are here to dedicate a bridge today as a reminder that this person did something significant with his life,” said Major Cornett.
The event was hosted by Master Sgt. and Hazard Police Chief Minor Allen. The dedication was planned by Sgt. First Class Michael Turner. Music was provided by Sydnie Hall and 21-gun salute and taps were conducted by the DAV Hazard Chapter 64.
Combs’s grandfather, Don Robinson, read the resolution approved by the Perry County Fiscal Court officially naming the bridge.
“Barry did not choose this war, but when it came he served with honor and distinction,” Major Cornett added.
Sunday’s dedication was the latest in a line of ceremonies honoring Perry County’s veterans. Several other local bridges have also been dedicated since 2009.