MANNINGTON, W.Va. – Both community and family members gathered across from the Mannington Post Office on July 8, for the dedication of a bridge on Water Street, which is now called the “World War II Veterans Toothman Brothers Memorial Bridge.”

This bridge is in honor of the late Rupert, Lawrence, Osborne, Harold and Hubert Toothman, five brothers from Mannington that served in World War II. Three of them served in the United States Army, one in the United States Army Air Corps and one in the United States Marine Corps.

The five Toothman brothers will not only go down in United States history, but now, Mannington history. (WBOY image)

Dennis Toothman, the nephew of the five veterans, has been working on getting the bridge dedicated for almost 10 years. He got the idea when he saw other bridges being named after veterans. He thought to himself, “Hey I got family, let’s name a bridge after them.” However, Toothman was working and could not put in the time and work to get it done. But after retiring, he was able to dedicate more time to making phone calls and meeting with the right people to help him bring the bridge dedication to fruition. The ball eventually got to rolling, and they finally got to celebrate with the rest of the family. “This is probably my greatest achievement that I have in my lifetime. I’m so proud,” said Toothman.

Toothman rounded up quite a bit of help to by reaching out to his 26 first cousins, who all pitched in. He was also beyond grateful for the help from the mayor, delegates and county, and said he wanted to thank them for making this possible for his family.

A sign with the name of the bridge (WBOY Image)

Family members drove in from as far as Arizona to attend this dedication. Larry Toothman’s granddaughter, Anna Delaria, drove in with her family from North Carolina. During an interview with a 12 News reporter, she explained that her grandfather and nanny actually met on the bridge that is now named in their memory. “We’ve heard all the stories about them falling in love and stuff. And so this, it being this bridge, that is for, you know, with this dedication, that is even more, just—it just makes it even more, kind of, meaningful,” Delaria added to her explanation.

Some of the family and friends who came to celebrate the bridge honoring (WBOY Image)

In Toothman’s opinion, the dedication of this bridge is important because World War II was the last war that this country really wanted to win. He added that the veterans put in all the effort necessary to make it happen and that it took dedication and lives from all of the younger people. Dennis Toothman’s father, one of the nine brothers, did not serve in the war, but was in the Civil Air Patrol. He did his part and still tried to raise his family.

The other four brothers were too young to join the war. The youngest, Edwin Toothman was only nine years old during World War II.

The family usually only gathers together for funerals, but this occasion meant so much to everyone. Edwin Toothman, the only Toothman brother still living, explained how the gathering of his family made him feel, “We’re spread out so distantly we seldom get to see each other. So I’m, I’m seeing relatives here that I haven’t seen in 30 years. So it, it’s just a marvelous situation that I’m—I’m happy that the dedication of the bridge can bring the family together.” He also helped by gathering information to help make the dedication possible.

A variety of family and city members spoke before the crowd of the Toothman family line. The county commission was in attendance, along with the bridge sponsors.

After the dedication celebration, Dennis Toothman held a gathering at his house with food and beverages, with a shuttle to bring everyone up his hill.

World War II Toothman Brothers Memorial Bridge (WBOY image)

The bridge was originally built in 1926 and will be replaced in 2026, where it will continue to remain as the “World War II Veterans Toothman Brothers Memorial Bridge.”