Burns, family hold ceremony honoring local hero

Dysart man killed when destroyer was sunk off Italy during WWII

ASHVILLE, Oct. 8 – A Dysart man who gave his life in service to his nation was honored today at a ceremony hosted by state Rep. Frank Burns to formally dedicate the Seaman 2nd Class Louis J. Benzie WWII Memorial Bridge on state Route 53.

Benzie was just 18 when he was killed during the sinking of the U.S.S. Maddox, a destroyer performing an anti-submarine patrol during the invasion of Italy in 1944.

"It’s gratifying to see that this Cambria County hero will be forever recognized for his selfless and heroic service," said Burns, whose legislation honoring Benzie passed the House earlier this year. "We can do no better than to honor those who died so we can remain free and safe. This is a great tribute to a man who fought for our country and whose life was cut too short "

Burns was joined at the ceremony by Benzie’s family, local veterans, local veterans’ organizations, a high school marching band, and Charles Samas, the last known survivor of the U.S.S. Maddox.

Knowing well the sacrifices made by those who defended their nation, Burns has worked since taking office to help recognize area veterans, whether it’s hosting his annual veterans luncheon, helping families memorialize local heroes through highway and bridge dedications like the one today, or fighting to make sure active military families can access the benefits they deserve, like in-state tuition in the event a parent is deployed or reassigned.