Missouri House gives approval to memorial highway plan

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Legislation to name interstate interchanges after Missouri soldiers killed in Afghanistan or Iraq is one step closer to reality.

Three bills passed by the Missouri House of Representatives on Tuesday establish the Heroes Way Interstate Interchange Designation Program to honor soldiers, including some in Southeast Missouri. Once Gov. Jay Nixon signs House Bills 91, 427 and 683, the memorial plan becomes law.

State Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, filed his bill last fall in the Senate, where it passed earlier this year.

Crowell was first approached by friend Ross Gartman with a proposal to name an exit on Interstate 55 in honor of Cpl. Jeremy Shank of Jackson, who died Sept. 6, 2006, while serving in Iraq. Crowell suggested naming additional interchanges after other fallen soldiers from the region.

Each exit designated through the Heroes Way Interstate Designation Program would be near the fallen service member's hometown. An interchange can only be named after one soldier. The fallen soldier's family members would have the option to pay to renew the sign every 20 years.

Crowell is confident the bill will be signed into law.

"I don't have any indication where he'd oppose it or be against it," Crowell said. "Legislation for Heroes Way couldn't have been passed at a more perfect time as we approach Memorial Day and remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. I was thankful that I was able to play a small role in honoring our fallen heroes."

bblackwell@semissourian.com

388-3628

Pertinent address:

State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO

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