OAK RIDGE BOYS’ DUANE ALLEN RECEIVES MEMORIAL BRIDGE HONOR
Duane Allen of The Oak Ridge Boys paid a visit to his hometown in the Cunningham Community near Paris, Texas, where a bridge and road have been dedicated in his name.
Allen and his family began their day with a tour of Red River Valley Veterans Memorial, where they donated a granite bench to honor their family members who have served in the armed forces.
The Allen family then traveled to Lamar County, where the bridge and road dedication ceremony was presented by Lamar County Judge Chuck Superville and Lawrence Malone, County Commissioner for Precinct 1. The Duane Allen Memorial Bridge crosses Big Sandy Creek and is located just a few hundred yards away from where Allen was born. Blue signs reading Duane Allen Road were placed on each end of the County Road. At the artist’s request, the new signs were placed in conjunction with the previous road signs, so local residents will not have to change their address.
The bridge crosses the creek that ran through the middle of the Allen family farm. Allen still has vivid memories of learning to fish and swim in Big Sandy Creek, and riding his bike over the bridge each day on his way to school.
“I did not know until our bus turned down the small road that the bridge was on ‘our’ road,” the singer said. “It was a complete surprise. I thought it would be south of our place, but when we turned down ‘our’ road, now named the Duane Allen Road, my stomach just about came out of my body. I was so thrilled that I did not have the proper words to express myself. I was still emotionally charged when I tried to speak.”
Following the ceremony, the Cunningham Community Center held a private celebratory pot-luck for Allen, his family and hometown friends.
PHOTO CAPTION, above: George Wood, Chairman, Red River Veteran’s Memorial; Tommy Archer, Veteran and Allen’s best friend since childhood; and Duane and wife Norah Lee Allen. Photo by: Darrick Kinslow