Cera Honors Belmont County Heroes With Memorial Highway Bill
Proposes part of I-70 be dedicated to local WWII veterans who gave lives in service
October 07, 2016
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State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) joined local veterans today at the Belmont County Veterans Services Agency to announce the introduction of House Bill 584, legislation to name portions of I-70 in Belmont County posthumously in honor of two local Medal of Honor recipients. 

Cera’s legislation honors two Eastern Ohio soldiers, Sergeant Sylvester Antolak and Sergeant Emile DeLeau, Jr., who bravely fought in World War II and received America’s highest military honor for their acts of valor. 

“These two American heroes went above and beyond the call of duty. They put themselves in harm’s way to protect human life and advance freedom, liberty and democracy across the globe,” said Cera. 

According to wartime accounts, Sgt. Antolak destroyed an enemy machinegun nest during the Battle of Anzio. He suffered three bullet wounds, including a deep shoulder wound and shattered right arm, but kept moving forward into enemy fire. His efforts helped eliminate 20 enemy soldiers, capture the machinegun nest and clear the path for his company to advance. Sgt. Antolak was ultimately killed by enemy fire. 

Sergeant DeLeau helped his company clear four houses of hostile enemy troops and capture ten enemy soldiers. Sgt. Deleau then ran across an uncovered range to take out an enemy machine gun encampment, but was killed by machine gun fire before fully neutralizing the machine gun. Sgt. Deleau’s ultimate sacrifice is credited with aiding his battalion and helping them reach their destination with minimal casualties. 

Cera credited Dick Stobbs, a decorated Vietnam veteran and member of the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame, for contacting him with the idea to honor these Medal of Honor recipients. 

“We both agreed that it was long past time to honor these two great sons of Belmont County who paid the ultimate price to keep our nation and our allies safe from tyranny,” said Cera. 

“I am pleased to have worked with Rep. Cera on this bill, as I feel it helps pay respect to these gentlemen who bravely fought and died for their country,” said Mr. Stobbs, who helped organize today’s event. 

Cera said he is hopeful that the Ohio House will approve the memorial highway legislation by the end of the year.

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