World War II veteran honored in Harlan

WYMT Mountain News Weekend Edition newscast at 11 p.m. on Saturday
Published: Sep. 17, 2022 at 4:13 PM EDT
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WYMT Mountain News Weekend Edition newscast at 6 p.m. on Saturday

HARLAN, Ky. (WYMT) - The City of Harlan named a bridge after World War II veteran Bazel Collins.

Collins spent more than three years as a prisoner of war in Japan. He died in 1980 at age 63, and 42 years later his name is presented on the roads of Harlan.

“It’s just an amazing blessing to come out here and remember Bazel,” Collins’ caretaker John Myers said.

Dozens gathered at the ceremony, showing the impact Collins had on the area. His kindness spread like wildfire, especially when disaster struck in the 1977 flood.

“He said ‘ole’ John Boy, all my babies are flooded, they’re all ruined.’ And he said this without reminding us that he had five feet of water in his house,” Myers said.

Even with all the people there, Myers was honored with one of Collins’ most cherished items, a hard hat he wore.

“It’s a hat he wore every day. He wore it underground. It was just a piece of his when he got out of the truck in the morning. He put it on and kept it on until he went home,” he said.

The bridge named after Bazel Collins is located off Highway 421 in Harlan between KFC and Walmart.