Community honors fallen soldier

SPARTANBURG — Patty Adams’ daily drives to and from work serve as a gentle reminder of the beloved son, Pfc. Michael Adams, whom she lost to the war in Iraq.

Her commutes take her over a bridge that in June was officially renamed in his honor —  the Pfc. Michael Scott Adams Memorial Bridge. Signs on either end of the span at Reidville Road and I-26 bear his name.

Michael Adams, who served with the U.S. Army, died on Aug. 21, 2003, from smoke inhalation after an accident during a live-fire training exercise in Baghdad.

He grew up in Spartanburg and was a lifelong member of Jesus, Our Risen Savior, where Patty said he attended weekly Mass and also received all his sacraments.

Patty and her husband, Rick, are also active members of the church.

On June 18, the official dedication ceremony for the bridge was held at the church with Father Charles Snopek officiating. The funeral Mass was also celebrated there in 2003.

“The whole family thinks it’s a pretty awesome thing,” Patty said in an interview with The Miscellany. “The bridge itself is quite a formidable structure. And it’s comforting to have it named after Michael. I travel that bridge every day, and it’s also in an area where he grew up. He travelled that road all the time to get to church, to get to school, so his name is in a place that he passed all the time.”

Michael was a 2001 graduate of Dorman High School who was active in youth baseball, soccer, martial arts and tennis during his school years. He was 20 years old when he died.

During the ceremony, State Sen. John Hawkins presented the family with a framed copy of the resolution passed by the General Assembly that made the bridge name official. The legislation was introduced by State Rep. Scott Talley. Both men represent the Spartanburg area.

“Michael Adams came from a great family, went to Iraq to serve and died a tragic death,” Hawkins said. “We felt like it was the right thing to do, to honor him this way. We regularly name our most important landmarks after people who serve their country and die for their country, and Michael was a great young man who deserved to be honored.”

State Rep. Scott Talley had introduced the legislation but was unable to attend the ceremony because of a prior commitment, Hawkins said.

Michael is not the only member of the Adams family to serve in the U.S. military. His father Rick served in Vietnam, and his older brother, Matthew, enlisted in the U.S. Army after Michael did.

Matthew recently returned from serving a tour in Korea, and spoke for the family during the dedication.

Father Snopek led a dedication prayer during the service at the church. He recalled how the Adams family had been active members of the parish for many years, and said the unveiling was a special moment for them.

“It absolutely was a meaningful event for them, and for us,” he said. “His family was overjoyed that their son received this honor.”