Commission to Revisit Navarre Bridge Naming on February 9

Posted on January 20, 2021 by Romi White

Tony Hughes, 2018 winner of the prestigious General Lewis H. Brereton Award for outstanding civilian support of the military, has been asked to appear a second time before the Board of County Commissioners on February 9 to further discuss his idea to rename Navarre Beach Bridge and Causeway for the area’s military heroes.

Hughes first appeared before commissioners in January to ask them to consider naming the causeway in honor of late Medal of Honor recipient MSgt. John Chapman and the bridge in honor of Air Commandos.

Board Chairman Dave Piech asked Hughes to return to the board’s February 9 work session to further discuss the matter.

District 3 Commissioner James Calkins in early December had presented a social media poll, asking whether or not citizens would support naming the span Donald J. Trump Bridge in honor of the outgoing U.S. President. However, that suggestion was met with much controversy.

Hughes said he did not just propose naming the bridge and causeway for military heroes to oppose naming for the bridge for Trump.

“We believe our recommendation recognizes the positive cumulative effect of the over 13,000 Air Commandos – past, present and future and their families – and is therefore simply a better idea,” Hughes said. “Why now? Why not now,” Hughes said. “We should be saying ‘shame on us’ for not doing something big to honor our wonderful neighbors much sooner than now…let’s not wait any longer.”

Hughes started a related online petition which has since generated more than 1,100 signatures.

He also pointed out to the board that there are “thousands and thousands” of active duty/retirees/and dependents from Hurlburt who call Santa Rosa County home.

“Since 9/11 airmen from the 1st Special Operations Wing and the 24th Special Operations Wing have easily been the most combat deployed wings in the Air Force. Despite this heavy tempo, these airmen and their families still find time to be vital parts of our community – worshipping with us in our churches, having their kids grow up next to our kids in school, coaching our youth sports teams, serving in our school’s parent teacher organizations, teaching Sunday School, and leading scout troops,” Hughes said.

Additionally, Hughes noted that active duty Navarre residents Cole Condiff and Marty Bettleyoun lost their lives in local training accidents while gearing up for deployments.

“There is no other person or group of people who have such a tremendously positive impact on our county, especially in the south and south east parts of our county,” Hughes said.

Hughes proposes only a memorial dedication of the causeway, which would not require changes to mailing addresses along the route.

“We are not seeking to change the actual name of the roadway,” Hughes said, adding, “We will raise the money for signage…so there will be no cost to the taxpayers.”

Additionally, Hughes also asked that when a future bridge is constructed to replace the aging structure that the name move to the new bridge once opened.

The work session is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, February 9 at the County Administrative Complex, located at 6495 Caroline Street in Milton. Email the board to share your input on the matter via