Over the years, Ed Preston has dedicated much of his time to remember those who sacrificed in service of the U.S.
Preston, of Hulmeville Borough, heads the Pennsylvania Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation and was instrumental in the creation of the Lower Bucks County Vietnam Veterans Memorial. He also has worked with Bucks County government to spearhead an effort to rename and rededicate county-owned bridges for the 136 servicemen from Bucks County who died in or remain missing in action due to the conflict.
“We want all 136 men memorialized in some way,” Preston said, noting there are more than enough county bridges to complete the effort.
“We want the bridges to let them live on and their memory lives on,” he said.
Some servicemembers already have parks or other memorials in place, and Preston’s team is working to make a list of existing memorials.
Preston has worked with PennDOT and the state legislature on renaming state bridges, and county government began working with Preston about a year ago.
The partnership with the county, according to Preston, has gone well and allowed for a quick expansion of the project, which is expected to take years to complete.
As of October, the county bridge dedication project has recognized U.S. Army Private First Class Kenneth G. Worman, U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. David John Ortals, U.S. Army 2nd Lt. William James Erkes Jr., U.S. Army Warrant Officer William Warren Breece Jr., U.S. Army Private First Class Allan George Griffin, and U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Karol Raymond Bauer.
Bucks County Commissioner Chairperson Bob Harvie and Preston had breakfast in 2022 to discuss the project to rename and rededicate county bridges.
“They’ve been so easy to work with,” Preston said of the county. “And they don’t care about politics. We’ve had all the commissioners at our events. ”
Preston explained that the project aims to use bridges near where the servicemember was from or had a connection.
Preston and his volunteers work to research each person who will be honored and see if there is surviving family.
The group is working to find more families of the 136 servicemembers.
“We want them all memorialized in some way,” Preston said.
Harvie said the program is a solid way to remember those who have died in service of the country.
“From the late 50s to the 70s, over a million men and women from this country served in Vietnam and every single one of them has a story and a place in their memory, and the memory of this nation,” Harvie said.
He added: “As we get further away from the Vietnam War, we will make sure people understand what this war was about and appreciate all the men and women who served in it.”
Preston, who owns Bike King Cycling in Middletown Township, has dedicated years to helping the community and families of military members. He has worked with veterans and on military causes for years. Additionally, he organizes the Penndel-Hulmeville Memorial Day Parade.
“I love doing it all,” said Preston, who is not a veteran but has great respect for those who served.
Looking toward the future, Preston and his volunteers want to complete the bridge project and work on a statewide Vietnam War memorial.