Crowell files bill to name interchanges after fallen soldiers

Thursday, December 11, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- State Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, has filed a bill intended to honor soldiers killed in action in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Senate Bill 110 would name interchanges along Interstate 55 in Southeast Missouri in honor of six fallen soldiers. Each exit designated through the Heroes Way Interstate Designation Program would be near the fallen soldier's hometown. Additional soldiers who die on the battlefield would have their names added to appropriate interchanges.

"The men and women who serve in the military are true heroes, and communities throughout Missouri feel the blow when one of their own gives the ultimate sacrifice," Crowell said. "Heroes Way provides a way to memorialize these heroic soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who do not return home to their family and friends."

In the current bill, to be eligible, soldiers must have been killed in action during active military duty in Afghanistan or Iraq on or after Sept. 11, 2001. One member of the legislature must sponsor the soldier. If the application is approved, signs on the exits near the soldier's hometown would be established.

Crowell's legislation was pre-filed Dec. 4. The final day for senators to introduce legislation for the 2009 session is March 1. The session begins Jan. 7 and ends May 15.

Crowell worked with the Missouri Department of Transportation to draft the bill after friend Ross Gartman proposed naming an exit on I-55 in honor of Cpl. Jeremy Shank of Jackson, who died Sept. 6, 2006, while serving in Iraq. Crowell suggested naming other interchanges after additional fallen soldiers from Southeast Missouri.

In addition to Shank, other soldiers that would be commemorated are:

* Staff Sgt. Charles R. Sanders Jr. of Charleston, Mo., who died April 6, 2005

* Sgt. Robert G. Davis of Jackson, who died Aug. 18, 2005

* Spc. Blake W. Hall of East Prairie, Mo., who died Aug. 21, 2005

* Sgt. Bradley Skelton of Gordonville, who died Feb. 6

* Sgt. Adam J. Kohlhaas of Perryville, Mo., who died April 21

"We owe so much to the men and women who chose to leave their homes to serve our country," Crowell said. "This is one way of making sure the memory of those who have given their lives for our freedoms are honored and remembered."

bblackwell@semissourian.com

388-3628

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