The Asheville Fire Fighters Association began a petition to persuade members of the NC Board of Transportation in renaming the Smoky Park Bridge in Asheville, NC as the Captain Bowen Memorial Bridge. Captain Bowen was killed in the line of duty after receiving injuries while fighting an arson fire on July 28, 2011 in Asheville, NC. To honor Captain Bowen and his surviving family, Western North Carolina residents, emergency service personnel, Asheville City Council Members, Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, as well as personnel from the NC Office of State Fire Marshall, petitioned the NC Board of Transportation to rename the Smoky Park Bridge as the Captain Bowen Memorial Bridge.
Unfortunately, the NC Board of Transportation denied this request stating that the honor was only applicable towards fallen law enforcement officers. Although fallen law enforcement personnel should receive this decoration, the Asheville Fire Fighters Association believes it is due to any emergency personnel member who dies while protecting his or her community. We believe that one group of individuals should not receive preferential treatment, especially when someone sacrifices his or her life.
To conclude, the Asheville Fire Fighters Association requests that the NC Board of Transportation reverse its earlier refusal to rename the Smoky Park Bridge in honor of Captain Bowen. By reversing its earlier decision, NC Board of Transportation members will honor the appeal from Captain Bowen’s family and residents of Western North Carolina. However, if the Board denies this appeal, a continued effort will be directed at the NC DOT and its Board of Transportation until an equitable decision is rendered.
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