- Associated Press - Sunday, October 12, 2014

ROME, Ga. (AP) - The bridge on the South Rome bypass that spans U.S. 27 now bears the name of a Georgia State Patrol trooper who died on duty more than 31 years ago.

Colleagues, friends and family members of Tfc. Donward “Don” Francis Langston, a Chattooga County native, came together last week to mark the occasion.

Langston’s daughter, Valarie Glass, attended the event with her mother and said she appreciates the work done by the Georgia State Patrol, the Department of Public Safety and the local state representatives.

“This is so touching,” Glass said. “It is beyond words to be able to remember my dad in this way with my mom.”

Langston was 42 years old when he died after wrecking his patrol car while pursuing a vehicle about six miles south of Cedartown on July 26, 1983.

He served in the Air Force and as a motorcycle officer for the city of Atlanta before joining the GSP in 1974.

“This is not a time for mourning, but a time for celebration of the life of Trooper Langston,” Georgia Public Safety Commissioner Col. Mark McDonough said. “We can collectively remember and rejoice what the past has taught us and what we can do with it in the future.”

The morning began with a ceremony at Georgia Highlands College, followed by a sign-unveiling on the bridge south of the college (map).

Rep. Christian Coomer, R-Cassville, introduced the resolution to name the bridge in honor of Langston in the Legislature. He read some remarks by fellow Rep. Eddie Lumsden, R-Armuchee, a retired state trooper who served with Langston during his time at the Rome post.

“Don Langston was my friend for the five years he was at the Rome post, and I grew to trust, admire and respect him during that time,” Coomer read. “He, like us all, knew the dangers of the job and still felt dedicated to willingly perform his duties.”

Lester Rampy, retired GSP major and commanding officer, was the sergeant of the Calhoun post when Langston began working there in the mid-1970s.

“He always followed orders and never asked questions,” Rampy said. “If you gave him an assignment, you could guarantee that it would be carried out.”

DPS officials said that the signs unveiled on each side of the bridge along U.S. 27 will be placed on the bridge once the remainder of the bypass is completed and the bridge officially opens to traffic.

GSP spokesman Gordy Wright said Tuesday’s dedication was one of several that will take place before the end of November as part of a Department of Public Safety program to honor 27 troopers who gave their lives in the line of duty.

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Information from: Rome News-Tribune, https://www.romenews-tribune.com

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