Highway to be named after local fallen hero - WNEM TV 5

Highway to be named after local fallen hero

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A local fallen hero is set to be remembered in Mid-Michigan. 

A state senate committee approved a bill Thursday to name a stretch of US-23 in Genesee County after Sgt. Joe Johnson. 

Johnson made the ultimate sacrifice several years ago in Afghanistan. 

"Well, I could sum him up in probably one sentence - his favorite color was plaid,” said Teri Johnson, the sergeant’s mother.

Teri Johnson said her son was the kind of person who never really fit inside the box. The army sergeant was a native of Mundy Township in Genesee County and a graduate of Carman-Ainsworth High School.  

She said her son tried college very briefly, then decided to defend his country.

“He wanted to be a combat engineer. Then he wanted to be airborne, rough terrain, so he would strap on a chainsaw and jump into a tree. Anything that would make his parents do a double take or use his full name,” she said.

Joe was killed in combat in Afghanistan in June of 2010.  He was just 24-years-old. 

Teri said she misses him tremendously.

“Every day, every breath that I breathe I miss him. You cannot have this much pain and grief without having had that much love.”

Thursday, a state senate committee approved a proposal by State Senator Jim Ananich to name a portion of US-23 in Genesee County after Joe.

From Thompson Road north to Bristol Road, that section will be called the Sergeant Joe Johnson Memorial Highway.

“I’m thrilled. What it means to me and my husband is that our memories of Joe are wonderful, but he will never be just a memory. He will be…forever.”

The proposal is expected to breeze through the legislature.

The memorial signs would then be put up for Sgt. Johnson in the near future. 

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