Gunster attorney Derek E. BruceDerek E. Bruce, a University of Florida Levin College of Law graduate, was profiled recently by the law school for his lobbying efforts to honor an area civil rights leader, the late Reverand Kenneth C. Crossman.

Bruce helped author the legislation, signed into law in June, designating a portion of the railroad bridge over U.S. Highway 17-92 at the Maitland-Winter Park line for Rev. Crossman.

The white minister, who died in 2004, preached at churches in Orlando, Melbourne, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Casselberry, and Deltona.

He was known as the “Bridge Builder” for his activism encouraging people of different races and religions to work together as a community.

The bridge, which connects Winter Park and Eatonville, acts as a literal and symbolic remembrance of his life’s work, according to John Crossman, son of the late minister, and owner of Crossman & Company.

John Crossman spearheaded the effort to have the bridge named after his father, and he turned to Bruce for help.

A Gunster government affairs lawyer, and Florida native, Bruce found advocating on behalf of the bridge-renaming legislation the perfect way to leverage his professional skills to help honor diversity trailblazers in the state such as Rev. Crossman.

A celebration of the renaming of the Reverend Kenneth C. Crossman bridge was held in September at the First United Methodist Church of Winter Park. At the event, Cecily Crossman said of her late husband, “He was a master bridge builder across social, racial and religious boundaries, making the seemingly impossible happen with his passion.” See below for photos from the celebration.

Read the entire UF profile of Derek Bruce: Alum’s legal and legislative expertise aids effort to honor civil rights leader (UF Law news, 11/6/17)

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Photos from the September bridge-renaming celebration, courtesy of the Crossman & Crossman Facebook page (from the 9/26/17 post and photo album):

The Reverend Kenneth C. Crossman bridge | September 2017

The newly renamed Reverend Kenneth C. Crossman bridge (September 2017)

Cecily Crossman & Derek Bruce | September 2017

Derek Bruce of Gunster and Cecily Crossman (September 2017)

Cecily Crossman | September 2017

Cecily Crossman at the bridge-renaming celebration (September 2017)


Derek Bruce | September 2017

Derek Bruce, of Gunster, at the bridge-renaming celebration (September 2017).

Rick Baldocchi | September 2017

Rick Baldocchi, former Maitland city commissioner, who worked with the late Rev. Crossman on a beautification effort for what is now the Rev. Kenneth C. Crossman bridge (September 2017).


John Crossman | September 2017

John Crossman, son of the late Rev. Crossman, at the bridge-renaming celebration (September 2017)


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