BARRACKVILLE, W.Va. – The historic covered bridge in Barrackville has officially been lit.

This year, the lighting was dedicated to the late Will Marple who had helped decorate the bridge in the past and passed away from COVID-19 in August of 2020.

The bridge was lit at 5:30 p.m. after a memorial service where Marple’s pastors, daughter and granddaughter all spoke.

According to Will’s wife Diana, he was the driving force behind the decoration of the bridge during 2019.

Since the community of Barrackville did not hold their usual festivities due to COVID-19, Will and Diana decorated the bridge by themselves. That year, the display was put up and taken down within two days due to the lack of a power source to the bridge; a community member donated his generator to light the display for just one night.

A power source was installed just in time for this year’s lighting dedicated to Will Marple on Dec. 28. Diana Marple hopes to keep the lights up until Christmas.

“We have had some very generous donations from the community. A lot of the community members and groups helped us immensely with the financials. Just getting the project up and coming up with the manpower,” said Diana Marple, Will’s wife and the Secretary of the Barrackville Covered Bridge Preservation Society.

At one end of the bridge, there was a memorial tree with blank ornaments and a sharpie where people can write down and display the names of the loved ones they had lost on an ornament. Will’s daughter Karla hung an ornament for him that reads “Dad” inside of a heart.

“We lost our father last August due to COVID, and this is really special to us,” said Heather Tuttle, Karla’s sister and Will’s daughter.

“It’s a special thing because it’s a simple act of kindness that showcases the kind person that he and Diana are, and he was, and so this wonderful simple act of kindness that brings so much joy to a community is amazing for us to be able to continue and carry it on every year,” said Karla Rose.

There were around 50 people in attendance for the memorial service and lighting of the bridge.

Many shared their picture from the service on the bridge’s Facebook page.

Diana Marple is one of the founders of the Barrackville Covered Bridge Preservation Society which works to obtain funding for the maintenance of the bridge so it can continue to be decorated every holiday season with no trouble.