Archived Story

‘The Oak’ is fitting bridge namesake

Published 12:58am Sunday, March 24, 2013

Esteemed Republican legislator Oakley C. Collins — often affectionately called “The Oak” — was known as a man who helped tie southern Ohio to the rest of the state and built connections on both sides of the political aisle.

So, it seems only fitting that a new bridge here would bear his name.

It will ultimately be up to the Legislature, a body Collins served in for more than 34 years between the House of Representatives and the Senate, to make the decision on what to call the new span that will replace the Ironton-Russell Bridge.

Hopefully the powers that be in Columbus will, at best, realize the former educator deserves this honor or, at worst, allow this decision to be determined locally through a nomination and public hearing process.

Collins’ legacy was built on the fact he relentlessly fought to make sure southern Ohio wasn’t forgotten but he also pushed common-sense initiatives that benefitted the entire state. He was a champion of education and voting rights, among many other issues.

Far too often in today’s political arena, the idea that laws should actually make sense seems to be forgotten. Collins understood this.

The new bridge connecting Ironton with Russell, Ky., will be vital to Lawrence County’s future, so it is fitting that it be named after such an important person from its past who helped pave the way to the present.

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  • rambo

    Well the so called Oak was out for money from anywhere he could make including the poor. He did do lots of good things hiding behind what his real agenda was and that was to fleece the people of all he could. I am sure nobody wants to hear this as most want to only remember him as this so called icon of Lawrence County and it some ways he was an icon but just remember also all the land he hoarded not to put people to work but to line his pockets sure most either have forgotten or want to live in there little idillic world where all is well.

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  • TribuneSubscriber

    What a ‘WONDERFUL’ man…
    LtCol William C. Lambert…

    I remember as a small child watching the Ironton Memorial Day Parade when Col Lambert rode by in an antique car, I stood out in the street where he could see me and I waved my little flag at him and waved…

    He Gave me a ‘Hand Salute’ and a BIG SMILE in acknowledgement….

    ((Wonderful Memories))

    YES This is/was a ‘MAN’s MAN’… who deserves recognition of naming the new bridge after him…!!!

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  • TribuneSubscriber

    William C. (Bill) Lambert (August 18, 1894 – March 19, 1982) was an American fighter pilot who flew in World War I. He was probably the second-ranking American ace of World War I. He claimed 18 air-to-air victories, eight fewer than “Ace of Aces” Eddie Rickenbacker and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

    He was born William Carpenter Lambert in Ironton, Ohio. He was the son of Mary and William G. Lambert. Lambert had his first airplane flight in a Wright biplane on 4 July 1910.

    In 1914, Lambert quit his job as a chemist in Buffalo, New York,to go enlist in the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery. Finding no openings, he took a chemist’s job with Canadian Explosives Limited until 1916. He joined the Royal Flying Corps in early 1917, and sailed for England after completion of his training, on 19 November 1917. He joined No. 24 Squadron RFC on 20 March 1918 flying the Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5a, and, between April and August, scored 18 victories–one observation balloon and 11 aircraft destroyed (with two victories shared),and six driven down out of control (one of which was a shared victory).

    He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
    Suffering from combat fatigue brought on by a bombing attack on his airfield, he was rotated back to England for medical leave on 20 August 1918 but the war ended before he recovered. One of his prized memorabilia was a piece of red canvas from von Richthofen’s Fokker DR-1 triplane.

    After the war, Lambert did some barnstorming in the Ironton, Ohio area and worked as an engineer. He also was the inventor of a rather unusual “pipe rest” which allowed a smoking pipe to be rested upon the smoker’s chin.
    Lambert joined the U.S. Air Service and served with the Army Air Forces in World War II. He retired in 1954 as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force.

    After World War, he was a frequent attendee at the RAF contingent’s Battle of Britain celebration at Wright Patterson AF Base in Dayton, Ohio.

    Lambert’s wartime experiences were related in his 1973 memoir Combat Report.

    He died in 1982 aged 87. He and his wife are buried in the Woodland Cemetery, Ironton, Ohio, in a mausoleum that he designed.

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  • mickakers

    I concur with sampcreature. Colonel William C. Lambert was a TRUE gentleman and hero. He is the forgotten hero.

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  • mikehaney

    At least,Veterans Memorial Bridge. No more politicians. Especially this day and age.

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  • swampcreature

    My nomination….

    Colonel William C. Lambert, a World War One fighter ace, was born in Ironton and died here. Bill brought great acclaim and honor to his hometown with his military exploits (21.5 victories, 2nd best among U.S. aces and behind only Eddie Rickenbacker)over the dangerous skies of Europe.

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  • Geronimo

    Ditto! Ironton Subscriber. How much more did “Oak” do for Oak , family and friends?

    (Report comment)

  • TribuneSubscriber


    The ‘STRONGEST CONSIDERATIONS’ should be to dedecated

    Call it the Ironton / Lawrence County VETERANS MEMORIAL BRIDGE..!!

    (Report comment)

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