Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach and Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, unveil the Shattuck Street overpass sign at a dedication ceremony Thursday. The event was to honor the late Petty Officer 2nd Class Kevin Wayne Yokum, who was killed while working in the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. (Michelle Higginbotham / Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, September 05, 2013 10:12 PM
The Kevin Wayne Yokum Memorial Overpass will now feature a likeness of its namesake.
A new sign featuring a picture of Yokum, a Navy petty officer killed in the 9/11 attacks, a Purple Heart medal and the words “Never Forget” was unveiled at a ceremony near the overpass Thursday morning.
In 2003, the Shattuck Street overpass was dedicated to Yokum, who died at age 27 while working in the Pentagon.
U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany was guest speaker at the dedication ceremony.
“I just met the Yokums (Kevin’s parents, Allan Sr. and Beulah) and I can see a spirituality, a deep sense of faith and belief in our country, in their eyes, “ Boustany said.
“I want to thank you for Kevin’s service to our country, as well as Kevin’s brother (Allan Jr.), who is currently serving. Kevin Yokum was a true American here. Kevin knew when he first put that uniform on, the Navy uniform he wore so proudly, Kevin knew that at any moment, for our sake, that he could step into harm’s way — for the sake of our country, for the sake of all of us. And he knew that each day that he went to work, that as a member of the armed services, his job was to protects us. And he answered that call. Kevin was a true hero. Kevin was a protector of American lives. That is why we are here to honor him.”
Dinah Robinson, principal of John F. Kennedy Elementary, which Yokum attended, said he is an inspiration.
“He was a hero among heroes to the children that reside in Lake Charles and children all over the world,” she said.
“His life, his legacy and his actions will live forever. Kevin has proven that any and every thing is possible — for you, for me and all our children.”
Retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Harry Cormier read a message from Bill Rafferty, a sailor on the USS Fitzgerald, which Yokum once served on:
“I just want to let you know that we have got one of the most powerful arsenals, 83,000 tons of steel, that have got your back. What’s more powerful than the arsenal, the weaponry we have onboard, is the simple fact that we have got Kevin Yokum’s legacy — the air that he breathed in the ship from being a plank owner.”
Beulah Yokum said Kevin was able to live his dream, and she hopes seeing the memorial inspires children to set and accomplish their goals.
“I want the kids in this city to know that you can stick to your goals and go for it,” she said. “I give credit to everyone in the community that helped Kevin get to where he wanted to be, from schools to the clubs he was in. Always look forward, set a goal for yourself, is what I tell young people. When you look at this, think that it is possible.”
Posted By: Kenneth Bell IC3 Bell USS Fitzgerald 95-98 On: 9/5/2016
Title: Fitzgerald Plank Owners reuniting to honor Petty Officer Yokum 09/11/16
I was pleased to come across this article. A group of Fitzgerald plank owners will be traveling to the Pentagon this 9-11 to both honor and celebrate the life and sacrifice of our amazing shipmate. We continue to salute and praise both Yoke and his family, and are proud to have served with such an excellent man of character.
Posted By: DC3 Allen USS FITZGERALD 95-97 On: 8/9/2015
Title: Petty Officer Yokum from the USS FITZGERALD
From one Fitzgerald Plankowner to another; thank you for your service and the ultimate sacrifice you made for our country. You are missed but never forgotten. Your Fitzgerald family thinks and talks about you all the time, and your memories will remain with us forever. God bless you
Posted By: Harry J. Cormier,Jr. CPO, U.S. Navy ,Retired On: 9/8/2013
Title: Kevin Wayne Yokum Memorial Overpass
Excellent Coverage!!. The article was the talk of the city on Friday September 06,2013. As Illustrated on the front page Political Lines were brought together, and most importantly the Lake Charles community as a whole.The unveiling of the new sign wrote a "Tmeless Message across the Skies".... " NEVER FORGET".