Local Information

Gold Star family members gather for sign unveiling on SR 902 near Medical Lake

Friday, March 19, 2021 - 14:16

UPDATE: Please note that a short video of the event is now available.


Beth Bousley, communications, 509-990-1504

Roadway renamed the Gold Star Memorial Highway to honor fallen heroes and their families

MEDICAL LAKE - Gold Star family members gathered Friday, March 19 in a small ceremony to unveil new signs designating State Route 902 as a Gold Star Memorial Highway. SR 902 is the primary route traveled to reach Washington State Veterans Cemetery in Medical Lake, the final resting place for over 6,300 veterans and family members.

State Rep. Marcus Riccelli joined the families for the highway renaming ceremony along with Washington State Department of Transportation Regional Administrator Mike Gribner, Washington State Transportation Commissioner Kelly Fukai, and Veterans Cemetery Director Rudy Lopez. Rep. Riccelli sponsored the name change with the Legislature and presented it to the transportation commission where it was unanimously approved on Sept. 16, 2020.

"It is my honor to try to help these families who have sacrificed so much," said Rep. Riccelli. "I want to especially extend my appreciation to someone who helps organize our Gold Star families, Keirsten Lyons. Her son, Staff Sgt. Jacob Hess, was 22 when he died in Afghanistan."

"A special thank you to Rudy Lopez and the Veterans Task Force, Rep. Riccelli, the WSTC, and WSDOT," said Keirsten Lyons. "And we'd especially like to acknowledge all the families of fallen heroes, those who courageously walk into each new day, keeping their loved one's memory alive. This new Gold Star Memorial Highway designation shows we will never be alone in that. We're so thankful to live in a community that honors service in such meaningful ways."

WSDOT installed the signs as soon as weather allowed at mileposts 1 and 12 along SR 902.

"We are honored to be a part of this simple act of recognition where we can all pay tribute to fallen heroes and those who live with their loss," said WSDOT Regional Administrator Mike Gribner. "The important act of naming this highway assures that their decision to serve will always be honored and remembered."

The sign unveiling is the culmination of work by the Eastern Washington Veterans Task Force, the state's oldest veteran support coalition, which took up this initiative to honor the fallen and their families along the 12-mile stretch of SR 902.

Cemetery Director Rudy Lopez said, "The Veterans Task Force was honored to champion this initiative as a lasting tribute to our nation's fallen heroes, reflecting our support for their survivors, whose lives are forever changed."

Gold Star is a designation given to the loved ones of fallen heroes to honor the service member's ultimate sacrifice while acknowledging their family's loss, grief and continued healing.



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