Bill Drafted for Bridge to be Named for Specialist Noah Pierce

Renee Passal
Updated: March 21, 2018 07:00 PM

It's been nearly 11 years since Army Specialist Noah Pierce took his life. The 23-year-old served two tours in Iraq. When he returned home, he battled PTSD instead.

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His mother, Cheryl Softich, said she's been in a funk lately. "I am finding that each year, it's harder than the year before," she told us from her Eveleth home. "It doesn't get easier when it's your son, your child."

But we had a surprise for her on Wednesday. We shared the news that Rep. Jason Metsa, of Virginia, has drafted a bill to name a bridge in honor of her son.

She was so surprised! "Thank you lord," she said, "Jason, he was so awesome to us," she exclaimed. "My heart is pounding 110 miles a minute. This is so exciting!"

The bridge is the one that so many people on the Range cross every day. It's on Highway 53, and crosses over Fayal Road and Highway 37, on the southside of Eveleth.

"It's the one that he would have used the most," Softich said. "Going to school, or heading to Duluth." She consulted with his friends about this, after she found the idea on Facebook. She thought she'd have to do a lot of work to get this thing going. But instead, found out Wednesday that Metsa had done the legwork.

She believes that if the bridge is named for Noah, that it will be the first one in the country named for a soldier who had PTSD. But she doesn't think it will be the last. "This opens the doors for others, just like we wanted."

Rep. Metsa said that it took a couple of years to get this going, but it's ready now. 

He wanted us to break the news. "I thought it would be something that could come out of the blue. It could make them really happy," he told us from St. Paul. He explained that the legislature can name other bridges this way as well, but it doesn't happen very often.

"This kind of puts a marker on the Range, which has a great history of service to our country, and hopefully it will be a reminder to people to seek help before they make the decision to end their lives."

Softich also hopes to start a support group soon, to help others like herself. "I feel better when I'm helping others," she told us. "And Noah is always with me."


Renee Passal

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