Bridge dedicated to marine

Veterans organization from Randolph and Upshur counties gathered Saturday in the remote area of Kesling’s Mill to remember a native son who fell in Vietnam.

They dedicated the USMC Cpl. Ronald Lee Kesling Memorial Bridge at the intersection of Kesling Mill Road and Kesling Ridge Road.

Kesling, who grew up in the Kesling Mill community before moving to Maryland with his family at the age of 14, was killed by enemy fire on Dec. 27, 1967, in the Quang Tri Province of South Vietnam. He was 20 years old.

A member of “Kilo” Company, Third Battalion, First Marine Regiment, Kesling received the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service medal, the Vietnam Service medal and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign medal during his time in the Marine Corps, which began shortly after his 19th birthday.

“I wish my mom was still alive,” Kesling’s sister Barbara Weaver said. “She would have enjoyed (this ceremony).

Weaver, just 19 years old at the time of her brother’s death, said she remembered answering the door at her home and seeing two Marines standing outside. She knew immediately what it meant.

“My mother was at work, so we had to go and get her,” Weaver recalled. “The preacher got here before mom did. As soon as she walked in and saw them, she knew what was going on.”

Del. Bill Hamilton, R-Upshur, presented each family member with a copy of the House resolution calling for the naming of the bridge. They were also given a copy of the sign which greets crossers on either side of the span.

During the ceremony, members of the Patriot Guard lined the bridges in honor of the fallen Marine.