New name for bridge honors remarkable Fort Dodge man
Albert Habhab formerly served as soldier, mayor and judge
Longtime residents of Fort Dodge are very familiar with the name of Albert Habhab.
A recent move by the City Council will ensure that generations to come will know his name also.
The council made sure that would happen by renaming the span on First Avenue South as the Albert Habhab Veterans Memorial Bridge.
It had always been the Veterans Bridge; adding the name of a decorated World War II veteran provides more meaning to the title.
Habhab’s long life has been one of service and one of inspiration to others. He is the son of immigrants from Lebanon who was born in Fort Dodge in 1925. He graduated from Fort Dodge Senior High School and went into the Army in 1944. He was a member of the 87th Infantry Division who fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He rescued a wounded GI while under fire from the Germans. For his military service he was awarded the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman Badge and three battle stars.
He went on to serve as mayor of Fort Dodge from 1960 to 1974. During his tenure, he led a number of infrastructure projects, including the construction of the bridge that bears his name.
He was a district court judge from 1975 to 1988. In 1988, he was appointed to the Iowa Court of Appeals and served as its chief judge. After retiring in 1997, he continued to hear cases as a senior judge for eight more years.
The surprise announcement that the bridge would be renamed was made at the community’s Veterans Day observance on Nov. 10 at St. Edmond Catholic School. Habhab sat motionless as the audience sprang to its feet for a standing ovation.
Habhab is a rather humble gentleman, and it’s possible he thought the whole thing was a bit much.
But the people of Fort Dodge who know him as Mr. Mayor, Your Honor, or just plain Al, think differently. We join all of them in saying that the bridge renaming is a well-deserved honor for a remarkable man.