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Harper keeping memory of brothers alive
Gary Prater

A local man is continuing an effort to remember siblings who died 40 years ago.

“I was wondering if there have been any further discussions on my request for a memorial bridge?” asked Randy Harper to members of the county Highway and Bridge Committee.

Harper came before the committee in October and shared with members the motor vehicle accident he witnessed that took the lives of his brothers. 

“In the afternoon hours of Monday, June 23, 1980, I was headed home after work and I watched as a school acquaintance of mine hit a car carrying my two younger brothers, Bill Harper, 17, and Robert Harper, 14, as well as our neighbor Bobby Hawkins, 17, killing them. Three young boys’ lives taken from them too early. My parents as well as Bobby’s parents never getting to see them grow up and have kids of their own, my future daughter never getting to meet her uncles.”

Harper requested of Warren County commissioners that they name the bridge over the Collins River at the foot of Harrison Ferry Mountain “Broken Halo” and in memory of the three. 

At that time, committee members voiced a desire to wait until after the request ran in the newspaper to see if other families who’ve lost loved ones in motor vehicle accidents in that area objected to, or would like their loved ones included in the recognition. 

The article was published in early November. 

Commissioner Gary Prater suggested the committee recommend approval to the Warren County Commission, but that the area on side of the bridge where the accident occurred be named after the three.

“That way if someone comes and wants their family members remembered, we can do that on the other side of the bridge,” said Prater.

Harper replied, “That’s fine with me.”

Highway and Bridge Committee members unanimously approved naming the bridge “Broken Halo” and a sign be placed on the incoming traffic side with the names of Bill Harper, Robert Harper and Bobby Hawkins. 

That recommendation will be sent to the full Warren County Commission for consideration. Being a state route, final approval must come from the Tennessee General Assembly.