SIKESTON – A dedication ceremony honoring Pvt. Ova A. Kelley was held Friday, April 13, at 10 a.m. at the Norwood High School gymnasium.
Private Ova A. Kelley was a United States Army soldier and recipient of the United States military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in World War II.
Kelley was born in Norwood, on March 27, 1914. Kelley joined the United States Army and served Company A, 382nd Infantry Regiment, 96th Infantry Division at the time of his death. He single-handedly attacked an entrenched Japanese position and led a charge which destroyed the remainder of the Japanese force on Dec. 8, 1944. He was shot by a sniper soon after and died of his wounds two days later on Dec. 10, 1944. Kelley was laid to rest at Oak Grove Cemetery in Norwood, Mo. and was awarded the Medal of Honor on Oct. 19, 1945.
Representative Tony Dugger sponsored legislation, which named the bridge on Route E over Route 60 in Wright County the PVT Ova A. Kelley Memorial Bridge. Signed by Governor Jay Nixon, the law became effective on Aug. 28, 2011.
Speakers included Lincoln Connell, Norwood High School junior; Ms. Megan Hammer, Constituent Services representative, on behalf of U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill; Stacy Burks, field representative, on behalf of U.S. Senator Roy Blunt; Jennifer Riegel, Rolla District office director, on behalf of U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson; State Commander Olin Parks, Missouri Veterans of Foreign Wars; Edwin Wright, private in Company K, 382nd Infantry Regiment, 96th Infantry Division (retired); and Chris Rutledge, assistant District Engineer, MoDOT.