Jasper County is poised to name a bridge in Reasnor in honor of the late Reserve Deputy Sheriff Howard W. Holdefer.
The proposal was presented by Jasper County Sheriff John Halferty during the Sept. 19 board of supervisors meeting. He noted many bridges in the county are named after departed officers and servicemen, such as the bridge near Colfax honoring Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Herschel F. “Pete” Briles.
“We have our officers that have been killed in the line of duty who are also honored, with the exception of Howard,” Halferty said. “I kind of looked at the county. There are a couple of options. But the one option I mentioned to the family was actually down by Reasnor, which is where he died in the line of duty.”
Holdefer’s end of watch was Oct. 30, 1973, when he suffered a fatal heart attack while assisting his fellow deputies to arrest three individuals. He is remembered every year at the Jasper County Law Enforcement Memorial service alongside the five other local law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty.
The bridge is located on Highway F-62 East and crosses the South Skunk River. Halferty said Holdefer’s grandchildren contacted him after one of the memorial services and asked if there was a way to find a bridge to honor their grandfather. Halferty asked permission to work with the engineer to name the bridge.
Jasper County Supervisor Brandon Talsma was supportive of the idea, saying he was surprised there wasn’t already a bridge honoring Holdefer.
“I say let’s get the ball rolling on it and get it done,” Talsma said.
Halfery added, “We’d like to do a memorial service at that point. I don’t know if we can get it done by October. If we can’t, maybe we can do it next fall. I anticipate having the costs for the signs to not be a budget item. We’re anticipating that will be donated by some anonymous donors.”