An Oakdale bridge will now bear the name of a fallen soldier killed in action in Iraq who was inspired to join the Army as a teen after 9/11.
The family of Army Spc. Matthew E. Baylis gathered with Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore) Saturday morning to dedicate the Oakdale-Bohemia Road bridge for Baylis in his hometown.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a bill last month, sponsored by Boyle, to rename the bridge for Baylis and dedicate a stretch of Sunrise Highway in his name in the Town of Islip.
Baylis, 20, enlisted in the Army during his senior year of Connetquot High School and completed basic training in 2006 at Fort Carson, Colorado.
He was sent to Iraq with the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Battalion, 12th infantry regiment. He died May 31, 2007, after being shot when his platoon came under enemy fire on patrol in Baghdad.
Baylis was a fourth-generation military veteran, his father, Richard, wrote in a 2009 piece for Newsday opposing the deployment of more troops to Afghanistan.
“On Sept. 11, 2001, my 14-year-old little boy made his decision to join the Army to fight for his country as soon as he graduated high school,” his father wrote.