East Texas Highway To Be Renamed in Honor of Local Hero
The City of Joaquin will hold a sign dedication ceremony on September 1 at which they will rename a segment of US 84 in Joaquin as the “Lieutenant General O.R. “Cotton” Whiddon Memorial Highway.”
The ceremony will begin at 11 am on US 84 just outside the city limits of Joaquin. The memorial highway designation will include the section of roadway between the Sabine River Bridge and Crystal Lake. Once the sign is unveiled, a luncheon and program will be held at the First Baptist Church of Joaquin.
Lt. Gen. Whiddon was born and raised in Joaquin. He later lived for many years in Lufkin with his wife Harriot before his death in 2016. Lt. Gen. Whiddon was a member of the Stephen F. Austin State University’s Alumni Hall of Fame, awarded the Paul Harris Fellow Award, the Service Above Self Award, and was also given the Angelina Award by the Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce.
Lt. Gen. Whiddon served in the U.S. Army from 1955 to 1990 and held many positions and titles around the world. He served two tours in Vietnam and served as Commanding General of the Second U.S. Army and Commanding General of the 8th Infantry Division. His career also took him to serve in Washington D.C.
His many decorations and medals included the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross, Vietnamese Staff Honor Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star and Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star.
TxDOT crews will place the new sign preparing it for the unveiling ceremony that will memorialize this section of US 84. Senate Bill 2150, renaming this section of US 84, was approved as part of the 88th Regular Legislative Session, 2023. Sen. Robert Nichols and State Representative Travis Clardy introduced and supported the bill.