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Bridge dedicated in honor of Muggins Bennett

Family and friends of James “Muggins” Bennett gathered under the Blair Park Shelter during inclement weather to attend a bridge dedication honoring him on Jan. 19. The bridge is located on U.S. 119 in the Blair community just north of Cumberland.

John Dodd, chairman of the Board to Preserve Military Heritage in Harlan County, announced A2C James Morton Bennett’s military history as well as his contributions in the Tri-City area.

Bennett was born May 26, 1940 in Kokomo, Indiana. He enlisted in the United States Air Force on Dec. 3, 1957, in Chicago, and attended basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. He was trained as a 55130 Roads and Grounds Specialist at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas. Bennett was stationed one year and four months of overseas duty in Japan and was assigned to the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base in South Carolina after returning from Japan. He served with Headquarters 354th Tactical Fighter Wing.

Bennett was awarded the Good Conduct Medal and the Air Force Leadership Special Award. After being discharged, he relocated to Cumberland.

Bennett worked as a coal miner with International Harvester in Benham, drove a Harlan County school bus and worked at the Tri-Cities Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Bennett was well-known for two annual events he hosted in the community — the Tri-City Empty Stocking Fund and the Tri-City Easter Egg Hunt. He served 29 years as the constable for District 3. He received the Tony Turner Leadership Award for his accomplishments. Bennett was also a member of Fields Lodge 832 of Free and Accepted Masons, where he was a Master Mason.

Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley spoke of Bennett’s contributions and shared his experiences with him while delivering food and gifts to families during Christmas. The Cumberland Honor Guard performed military services.