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ODOT dedicates bridge on Highway 34 to Fort Sill veteran

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 9:44 AM CST
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MANGUM, Okla. (KSWO) - The Oklahoma Department of Transportation honored a Lawton-Fort Sill veteran with a bridge dedication earlier this month near Mangum.

Reverend James Amos Callins is now memorialized with a bridge named after him on Highway 34, south of Mangum.

It’s the same bridge he was instrumental in getting rebuilt in the 35 years he worked as a supervisor for ODOT.

His daughter Brenda Callins said she can’t describe what the honor means to her family.

“I don’t know,” Brenda said. “I don’t have words for it. It’s like I get overwhelmed when I think about it, you know?”

According to Brenda, her father wanted a career that would give him Sundays off to pursue his true passion: preaching.

James was a Baptist minister for more than half his life, spreading the gospel as far as he could, to Hobart, Lawton, Wellington, Paducah and more.

“He pastored for 47 years in this area as like a traveling preacher almost. He had his first church in Texola,” Brenda said. “We drove there every Sunday from Mangum for a few years.”

He served in the army and was stationed at Fort Sill for a while.

Brenda said James lived through segregation, but even that experience only made him want to impart love to his community.

“The things he experienced growing up, he didn’t talk about a lot,” she said. “It was important to him to give back. He loved people. He was a pastor to many and a friend to many more.”

Even though James passed away in July 2017 at 76-years-old, Brenda said this dedication keeps his memory, and what he did for others, alive.

“He was a kind man,” she said. “He cared about people and that he would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it.”

The family said ODOT officials tell them Callins is the first supervisor to have a bridge dedication.

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