Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Fallen Neosho soldier among those who could be honored

Master Sgt. Thomss Crowell of Neosho who died Nov. 2, 2007, as a result of a roadside bomb in Iraq, is among the fallen Missouri soldiers who could be honored if legislation sponsored by Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, is passed. (I have not seen anything that would indicate the Crowells are related.)

The following news release on SB 100 was released by Sen. Crowell's office:

Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, recently filed Senate Bill 110—legislation inspired by community leaders looking for a way to honor local fallen heroes who have been killed in action in Afghanistan or Iraq. The bill would establish the “Heroes Way Interstate Designation Program,” which would allow interstate interchanges in Missouri to be named for service members who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

“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,” said Sen. Crowell. “Heroes Way provides a way to memorialize these heroic soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who do not return home to their family and friends.”

Sen. Crowell worked with the Missouri Department of Transportation to draft the bill after being contacted by Ross Gartman, a mortgage loan officer in Cape Girardeau and former member of the Missouri National Guard, regarding a way to honor his friend Bradley J. Skelton. Staff Sgt. Skelton of Gordonville was killed by an explosion in Baghdad on Feb. 6, 2008. Sen. Crowell then worked with family members of all Southeast Missouri fallen soldiers to finalize the legislation. In addition to Staff Sergeant Bradley J. Skelton, the soldiers from Southeast Missouri who lost their lives in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom are:

Staff Sergeant Charles R. Sanders, Jr. of Charleston: April 6, 2005

Sergeant Robert G. Davis of Jackson: August 18, 2005

Specialist Blake W. Hall of East Prairie: August 21, 2005

Corporal Jeremy R. Shank of Jackson: September 6, 2006

Sergeant Adam J. Kohlhaas of Perryville: April 21, 2008

The Heroes Way Interstate Interchange Designation Program allows relatives to submit their loved one’s name to the Missouri Department of Transportation for recognition. In order to be eligible for recognition, an individual must have been killed in action during active military duty in Afghanistan or Iraq on or after September 11, 2001, and must have sponsorship from at least one member of the General Assembly. Once an application is approved, two signs would be erected in the North/South or East/West directions at the interstate interchange of the fallen soldier’s hometown exit.

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

Sen. Crowell’s legislation was pre-filed on December 4th. March 1st is the final day for Senators to introduce legislation for the 2009 legislative session. The First Regular Session of the 95th General Assembly begins on January 7th and ends on May 15th.

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