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Cities seek to name bridge in honor of Jenkins

From City of Auburn

AUBURN – The cities of Auburn and Lewiston were expected to honor and celebrate the legacy of John Jenkins, the late Maine state senator and mayor of both municipalities, by renaming a footbridge in his honor.

The cities planned to vote this week on renaming the pedestrian footbridge that connects the cities as the “John Jenkins Memorial Footbridge.”

The Lewiston and Auburn city councils were each to consider and vote on the proposed footbridge dedication during their meetings on Tuesday.

Jenkins, who died in September, 2020, following a short but valiant fight against cancer, was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. He fell in love with the area while attending Bates College, graduating in 1974. He made Lewiston his home after traveling the world and competing in martial arts championships.

Jenkins was an exceptional athlete, becoming a member of the Lewiston-Auburn Sports Hall of Fame, World Martial Arts Hall of Fame, Maine State Sports Hall of Fame, and USA International Black Belt Hall of Fame. He also worked with local police departments, providing self-defense and de-escalation training and as a Maine Criminal Justice Academy instructor.

A mentor, community volunteer, personal trainer, martial arts instructor, motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and more, John Jenkins was a dedicated and enthusiastic member of the Auburn-Lewiston community, serving as mayor of each city, winning once as a write-in candidate. He also served as State Senator for Maine’s 21st District – the first African American ever to be elected to the Senate.

“John was inspiring to so many in our community and beyond,” said Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque. “Whether it was his motivational speeches to school kids or his advocacy as mayor and senator, his love for people and for community was evident to all. Naming this bridge after a man that connects and connected the two great cities he loved is not just fitting, it is appropriate.”

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