DEFEATED, Tenn. — On Saturday, July 28, 2018, a bridge crossing Cordell Hull Lake in the Defeated community was dedicated in honor and appreciation of lifelong Smith County resident Mr. Billy Halliburton.

Smith County Mayor Michael Nesbitt conducted the dedication ceremony. County Commissioner Mark Jones opened the gathering in prayer, and County Commissioner Glen Reece said a few words about Mr. Halliburton.

Smith County Mayor Michael Nesbitt addresses the crowd gathered at the Billy Halliburton Bridge on Lakeside Drive.

Mr. Halliburton was born on December 18, 1940. He attended the Buffalo School in the northern part of Smith County until it closed. He then attended school in Carthage, where he graduated from Smith County High School in 1959.

Halliburton proudly served his country in the military after graduation. He was a paratrooper stationed in Okinawa, Japan. He was honorably discharged in 1962.

Halliburton was united in marriage with Karen Jones in 1964, and they have three daughters: Melissa, Renee, and Kristin.

Halliburton has served on the Smith County Commission for 28 years. During that time, he has been a member of various committees and was appointed Chairman of the Bridges and Roads committee. Halliburton did not seek re-election and will therefore retire from his position as commissioner this month.

To express their appreciation to Mr. Halliburton and honor his extensive service to the county, a group of Smith County Commissioners spearheaded a resolution to dedicate an unnamed bridge in the Defeated community in Mr. Halliburton’s honor. This resolution was passed in March 2018.

The dedication of the bridge on Lakeside Drive marks the first time a bridge has been dedicated in honor of someone in the community who is still living.

Glen Reece and his fellow Commissioners wanted to give Halliburton the opportunity to enjoy the bridge being dedicated in his name. Reece remarked about how we too often honor people only after they have passed on. 

“Let ‘em know that you love them before you lose them,” Reece said. 

Reece joked that Halliburton’s response to learning about the plan to dedicate the bridge in his honor was, “Are y’all expecting me to die or something?” This comment drew a big laugh from the crowd.

Before unveiling the bridge’s new sign, Mayor Nesbitt read the resolution passed by the County Commission. 

The resolution detailed Halliburton’s life and service to Smith County, as well as his love for the Defeated community.

“He lives and breathes Defeated,” Nesbitt read. “His heart and soul is and always has been here in the middle of Defeated Creek. Billy has been known to say, ‘If you have gone past the elbow, you have gone too far.’” 

Billy Halliburton and his daughter smile as the bridge’s new sign is unveiled.

Community members clapped and cheered for Mr. Halliburton as the covering was pulled away to reveal a sign officially naming the bridge on Lakeside Drive the “Billy Halliburton Bridge.” 

Three other bridge and roadway dedications are scheduled to take place in Smith County during the month of August.