McBroom bill honoring Sen. Tom Casperson, Ben Lauren and Don Riling approved

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate on Friday finalized a bill sponsored by Sen. Ed McBroom that would rename the bridge on U.S. 2 that crosses the Escanaba River as the Senator Tom Casperson Memorial Bridge.

“Tom Casperson meant so much to so many people in the U.P. His passion for people and our way of life was amazing. His legislative accomplishments are literally unparalleled by any U.P. legislator and likely never will be surpassed,” said McBroom, R-Waucedah Township. “This memorial bridge offers a lasting tribute to him for all to see. It is special to him in many ways: Wells Township and Escanaba, his home communities; the route to the paper mill he drove for 30 years; a river he helped restore from a dangerous, 120+ year-old bridge; and a new bridge for which he helped secure the construction.”

The bill would also rename a portion of M-35 in Forsyth Township as the Ben Lauren and Don Riling Memorial Highway.

Forsyth Township Fire Department Capt. Benjamin Lauren, 23, of Gwinn, died in the line of duty while fighting a structure fire on March 13.

Don Riling was a professional firefighter with the U.S. Air Force and volunteer firefighter with the Forsyth Township Fire Department who died while fighting a house fire in the township on March 19, 1988.

“Ben Lauren and Don Riling were fearless public servants who lost their lives while helping to save others,” McBroom said. “Designating the Ben Lauren and Don Riling Memorial Highway along M-35 will help honor their sacrifice and ensure future generations are reminded of their selfless bravery. I thank everyone from Forsyth Township for their encouragement in getting this bill passed and I am hopeful it will become law soon.”

Senate Bill 921 now goes to the governor for signing.

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