Drivers in Smyrna will see a new sign on their commutes. This one honors Kent Coleman, Smyrna native, distinguished attorney and former member of the Tennessee House of Representatives.
"He was a true statesman," said state Rep. Mike Sparks, who defeated Coleman in 2010 to represent the 49th district.
Sparks was just one of the speakers at the Bridge dedication, held Friday afternoon, Nov. 1 on South Lowery Street in Smryna, to talk about Coleman's service to his community and positive impact he had on those around him.
"Kent helped myself and my family in ways that I will never be able to repay," Smyrna Mayor Mary Ester Reed said in her remarks, adding that Kent Coleman and his family made Smyrna the town it is today.
But it wasn't just his community service that made him special.
John Hood, who served in the state House with Coleman, described his friend as "a bridge builder that describes Kent in a perfect way."
After listing just a few of Coleman's accomplishments (he left off "The Kent" sandwich at BoroTown Cakes), Hood said his friend was one of Smyrna's finest.
"He had a great impact on the state of Tennessee through his service," Hood said.
Reed reiterated that sentiment saying Coleman gave her valuable advice throughout the years but the best was to always be respectful, work across the aisle and lead by example.
"This sign will remind me of that and bring back memories of Kent," she said.
The bridge is located near 470 S. Lowry St. in Smyrna. The dedication was made possible by a resolution passed by the Tennessee General Assembly.
Coleman died in April 2016 after a battle with cystic fibrosis, a disease he had fought most of his life. In fact, during his youth, doctors felt Kent would not live beyond his 21st birthday, according to his obituary.
Born and raised in Smyrna, Coleman went on to practice law in Rutherford County for more than three decades. He served as State Representative for the 103rd, 104th, 105th and 106th General Assemblies. During his eight years in the House of Representatives, he served as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and also served as a member of the Finance, Ways and Means Committee, and Calendar and Rules Committee. Coleman served on the Tennessee Judicial Council from 2007-2010 and was currently serving the state of Tennessee as a registry member of the Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance.
"You can take the boy out of Smyrna but you can’t take Smyrna out of the boy," Reed said.