The story of a lost plaque honoring a Chicopee World War I veteran and the work to restore the memorial brought Lieutenant Governor Tim
Murray, Rep. Joseph Wagner, and Rep. Sean Curran along with family members to a special bridge plaque rededication ceremony April 14 in Chicopee.
Thomas Francis Deady of Chicopee Falls was killed in action in April 1918 while serving his country during World War I in France. He was the first Chicopee Falls resident to die in the Great War.
22 years later in 1940, the Deady Memorial Bridge over the Chicopee River opened, honoring the local hero. The original plaque on the bridge said Private First Class Deady ran across an open field to secure water for his thirsty fellow soldiers and was killed while trying to return with the water.
In 2004, work began to demolish and replace the Deady Memorial Bridge. But unknown to work crews at the time, the plaque dedicating the bridge to Thomas Francis Deady had disappeared. After a search for the original turned up nothing, MassDOT working with Rep. Joseph Wagner's office and the Deady family found a picture of the Deady memorial and working with contractor SPS New England, Inc. were able to recreate the new plaque.
It is now displayed at the new Deady Memorial Bridge to honor Private Deady for generations to come.