CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Nitro officials expect a big crowd Friday, when the Dick Henderson Bridge is demolished - but no one will be closer to the action than Jessica Taylor.
That's because Jessica, a 10-year-old third-grader at Nitro Elementary School, gets to push the button that will make the bridge come down.
Actually, it might be a switch that she gets to pull - city officials aren't sure of the details of the controlled blast that will take down the remainder of the old bridge. But what matters more, said Jennifer Taylor, Jessica's mother, is the explosion.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," she said.
"It's not like these sort of things happen all the time. I'm sure it will be something that she'll remember forever."
Jessica was selected at random from more than 400 applicants among Nitro's elementary schools.
She'll be joined by 92-year-old Thomas "Frosty" Walls, a World War II veteran.
Nitro Mayor Dave Casebolt devised the plan.
"We are using the blowing up of the bridge to bridge the gap between what people would call our greatest generation with what is our youngest generation," Casebolt said. "The young generation needs to understand the sacrifices of this older generation."
Jessica's family first heard she had won the drawing on the evening news.