'Hero' to get salute at high level

Chris Nelms

A salute at the highest community level is about to come for a former Wynnewood man who tragically died during a military accident last year.

It comes in the form of a bridge dedication honoring the late Chris Nelms.

That dedication will be in a few days as the U.S. Highway 77 bridge leading over the Washita River and into Wynnewood will be named in Nelms' honor.

This particular bridge only seems appropriate since Nelms crossed it often as a youngster on his way to school in Wynnewood.

For that reason his parents, Mary and Nolan Nelms, believe the bridge is the perfect way to pay tribute to him and remember their lost loved one.

“When he was a kid he would go across that bridge every day to go to school,” Mary said. “I feel like it's a good thing to have the dedication at that bridge.

“He was such a great man and he should be remembered. It makes us feel good that he's being recognized this way. We thought it would be a nice tribute to him.

“He's an American hero.”

A ceremony dedicating the still fairly new U.S. 77 bridge near Wynnewood in Chris' name is set for 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27.

“It's great,” Nolan said.

“It's a big honor to have his name on this bridge for everyone to see.

“We want to let people he went to school with and people that live around here know about this so they can come if they want to.”

Following the bridge dedication there will be a reception at the Landmark Bank community room in Wynnewood.


Christopher Nelms graduated in 1990 from Wynnewood High School.

Just a few weeks later he joined the U.S. Army. Serving in the Army's Special Forces, Nelms achieved the rank of sergeant major deploying six times to Iraq and Afghanistan and other parts of the world.

“Anybody who's from the military is very, very impressed,” Mary said about Chris' military resume.

Nelms was 46 years old when on July 1, 2018 he died while performing free fall parachute training in North Carolina.

Sergeant Major Nelms, who was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, was posthumously awarded the Legion of Merit.

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