Smithfield - The N.C. Department of Transportation, together with the Johnston County Sheriff's Office, dedicated the bridge on Business 70 East in Smithfield to honor Deputy Clendon Paul West, Sr. today.
A special ceremony was held on the bridge itself and included participation by Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson, as well as other state and local officials. New signs in honor of Deputy West were unveiled at the end of the ceremony
West, who was killed in the line of duty on September 11, 1995, was remembered as a friendly colleague and public servant who gave back to his community.
"It is clear that he was an individual of the highest caliber and the type of person we all aspire to be-someone who puts others first, who goes above and beyond the call of duty, and is truly dedicated to those around him," Secretary Tennyson said. "Thank you to all of the law enforcement officers here today for continuing to live out the type of service that Deputy West exemplified during his lifetime."
At its January meeting, the Board of Transportation approved the naming of the bridge, which crosses the Neuse River, and which opened in April of 2013. The decision was supported by board member Gus Tulloss, the Johnston County Board of Commissioners and other local officials.
West grew up in Smithfield, was a graduate of Smithfield-Selma High School and joined the United States Marine Corps. After he received an honorable discharge, he returned to Johnston County and became a deputy with the Sheriff's Office.
In addition to his work, West spent countless hours in his community, working to youth through coaching t-ball and volunteering.
West's sister Angie was present for the ceremony and delivered a response from his family.
"It is our hope that anyone who drives on this bridge and sees the sign will not only think of Paul, but also all of those members of law enforcement who risk their lives each day," she said.
The bridge includes a six-foot wide pedestrian walkway on the north side of the bridge and a 10-foot wide multi-use path on the south side.