Cera Memorial Highway Legislation Heads To Governor's Desk
Dedicates part of I-70 to local WWII veterans, Medal of Honor recipients
December 08, 2016
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State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) today announced that legislation honoring two fallen World War II heroes from Belmont County will soon be signed into law. Originally introduced as House Bill 584, Cera’s legislation to name portions of I-70 in Belmont County posthumously in honor of two local Medal of Honor recipients was rolled into Senate Bill 207, a separate road naming bill that passed the General Assembly today.

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. According to Rep. Cera, Dick Stobbs, a decorated Vietnam veteran and member of the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame, contacted his office with the idea to honor these Medal of Honor recipients.

“These two American heroes and native sons went above and beyond the call of duty,” said Cera. “They committed the ultimate sacrifice in order to defeat Nazi tyranny and protect our freedoms here at home. Dedicating part of I-70 in their honor will help ensure that their legacy and sacrifice is not forgotten.”

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.

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