JIM THORPE, Pa. -

When a $28 million bridge is completed in Carbon County, it will be named in honor of a soldier who gave his life to protect our freedom.

The bridge, currently under construction on Route 903 over the Lehigh River in Jim Thorpe, will be named for Sgt. Andrew J. Baddick, who died on Sept. 23, 2003, while trying to save a fellow soldier from his submerged vehicle in Iraq.

Making the announcement Thursday, Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) and Sen. John Yudicak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) said the the designation is a result of Act 124 of 2014, which was recently signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett.

"This bridge naming is a promise I made to A.J.'s mother and I am glad to finally see it come to fruition," Heffley said.

Baddick was a  graduate of Jim Thorpe High School but even before serving abroad, he was already a hero at home.

He served as a river guide for Jim Thorpe River Adventures and served as a volunteer firefighter and a member of the Jim Thorpe Ambulance Service.

According to his mother, Ann Adams, Baddick grew up along the river and used to play on the water. Said Adams, "I am thrilled and so excited to see his life and service honored in this way."  

John Yudicak said, "This new bridge will be a fitting tribute to Sgt. Baddick and it will serve as a constant reminder of the bravery, courage and patriotism of all of our military heroes."

Baddick was 26 yeas old when he was killed in Iraq.

The bridge will replace the Jim Thorpe memorial bridge which was built in 1953, and it will be a fitting tribute to a hero who, according to his mother, grew up on the water and gave his life in the water.

"There is no better way to honor his service to our community and nation." Adams said.

The project is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2017.