Road named in honor of longtime chief
Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners has agreed to name the circular road on the township campus, off MacArthur Road, in tribute to Robert L. Benner, the township’s decades-long fire chief who died March 30.
Mayor Edward D. Hozza Jr. told The Press, after considering many streets and roads in Whitehall to carry Benner’s name, the administration, along with commissioners, thought it fitting to name the blacktop road off Municipal Drive as Robert L. Benner Circle.
The roadway surrounds a grassy area with a large evergreen tree, which is lighted each year during a Christmas program.
The grounds, known by some as the plaza, also will be the site for a veterans memorial, planned to be dedicated Memorial Day 2017. It already has a gazebo, flag pole and yard arm with pennants from each branch of the Armed Forces.
The township’s fire training center, off Water Street, was named after Benner in May 2015.
The township has placed a banner on Municipal Drive at the edge of the macadam circle in recognition of Benner. It has a photo of Benner dressed in his uniform, his name and the year of his birth and passing.
At Benner’s funeral processional April 3, many residents in Whitehall Township and beyond stood on sidewalks and along roadways as a caravan of fire trucks passed through sections of the township.
Hozza said there will be a public ceremony in October during Fire Prevention Week, formally dedicating Robert L. Benner Circle.
The only other time in history the township named a street after a Whitehall resident was in 2011. Seventh Street in Hokendauqua was named Jesse Reed Way. Reed was a Whitehall High School graduate who enlisted in the Army in 2008. He was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on July 14, 2010.