AUGUSTA — The Legislature’s Transportation Committee on Jan. 20 voted in favor of a bill sponsored by Sen. Chip Curry, D-Belfast, that honors a Unity firefighter who lost his life while trying to save others.

LD 1839, “Resolve, To Name a Bridge in the Town of Unity the Alton ‘Mac’ McCormick Memorial Bridge,” received a strong bipartisan vote of 12-1.

“Our communities are built on the service and sacrifices of individual heroes,” Curry said. “As assistant fire chief, Alton ‘Mac’ McCormick committed himself to (serving) the people of Unity. His service and heroism are inspiring. It is really humbling to me to work on this legislation to rename a bridge over the same stream where Mac acted to save the lives of children, yet tragically lost his life.”

Alton McCormick was Unity’s assistant fire chief in August and September of 1954 during category 3 hurricanes Carol and Edna. As the back-to-back storms battered Maine, floodwaters trapped dozens of families and killed 20 across the state.

In Unity, a family of 10 was stranded on top of a car that was partially submerged in Sandy Stream. Neighbors built a human chain to try to rescue them, and McCormick was instrumental in that rescue effort. Nine family members survived, but one of the children and McCormick died when they were swept away by floodwaters.

In the aftermath, Alton McCormick was posthumously awarded the first-ever Civilian Citation for Bravery by then-Gov. Burton Cross.

LD 1839 would rename Bridge 5228 in Unity as the Alton “Mac” McCormick Memorial Bridge. This bridge carries U.S. Route 202 and state Route 9 over Sandy Stream.

LD 1839 now faces votes in the Senate and House.