Former U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, left, and Bruce Holland, president of Holland Construction Services, pose with dramatic artwork they received Friday, Aug. 22, from the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois in appreciation for the roles they played in making the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge a reality. The artwork was presented at a special reception in their honor following the official signing ceremony renaming the Illinois approach to the bridge as the Congressman Jerry F. Costello Expressway.
EDWARDSVILLE — As the ink dried following the official signing ceremony renaming the Illinois approach to the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge as the U.S. Congressman Jerry F. Costello Expressway, the former congressman joined members of the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois for a special reception in his honor.
The event not only served to salute Costello for his work to make the new bridge a reality, but also as an opportunity to officially recognize Bruce Holland for his role in advancing that project and many other critical infrastructure projects in Southwestern Illinois.
“For many years, the need for a new Mississippi River bridge topped the Leadership Council’s agenda, and the reasons for that will only become more clear as time passes,” said Dennis Wilmsmeyer, president of the Leadership Council. “The Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge will encourage development of the region, enable easier traffic flow between Illinois and Missouri, and open the area to growth for many years.”
Costello’s dedication and persistence in getting the funding for the project helped make the bridge a reality, Leadership Council officials said. The council reinforced its appreciation for those efforts with a special presentation of artwork featuring a black and white image of the bridge. Now in the private sector, Costello continues to work closely with the Leadership Council on behalf of the Southwestern Illinois region, this time as a consultant to Scott Air Force Base and Southwestern Illinois Defense Assets Retention and Expansion Task Force.
While Costello’s leadership role with the new bridge initiative was widely known, behind the scenes, Bruce Holland worked to ensure plans for the new bridge came to fruition. Championing this cause was a natural fit for Holland, president of Holland Construction Services Inc., who led the Leadership Council’s Transportation Committee from its early days, providing leadership in the formative years and throughout the next two decades. The Transportation Committee was instrumental in gaining funding for many of the infrastructure projects that have made Southwestern Illinois a hub for logistics and distribution facilities, such as Illinois 255 and the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.
When Holland learned that the bridge was not going to be able to be lit because of funding constraints, he started raising the funding for the lighting. Working collaboratively with many like-minded partners in the St. Louis region, he helped to raise the necessary funds.
Mark Harms, co-chair of the Leadership Council’s Southwestern Illinois Transportation Enhancement (SITE) Committee, presented a second commemorative photo of the bridge to Holland. He saluted Holland as a humble leader who would have tried to persuade the Leadership Council to nix its plans to honor him had he known of them.
“This artwork is a symbol of our gratitude for the light you have shone on Southwestern Illinois through your leadership and we greatly appreciate all that you have done for the Leadership Council and for the region,” Harms said. “Your efforts have made a positive difference in Southwestern Illinois and both you and Jerry Costello leave as a legacy an excellent transportation infrastructure for generations to come to enjoy.”