By Gary Nelson
A state highway which runs through Cumberland County may be designated a Gold Star Highway, honoring those who have died in the military while serving the country, if a total of 23 counties in Tennessee approve a request and resolution and it is also approved by the state.
The Cumberland County Budget Committee approved spending $162.50 each for two road signs as part of naming State Route 1 the Gold Star Families Highway.
Cumberland County Mayor Kenneth Carey Jr. reported to the committee he had received a letter from Molly Morel from Martin, TN, of the American Gold Star Mothers Inc. of Tennessee.
"My son, Capt. Brent Morel, USMC, was killed in action in Iraq. Not long after losing Brent, I joined the American Gold Star Mothers, of Tennessee ...," Morel wrote.
The group had written to Gov. Bill Haslam requesting that Tennessee honor and remember men and women who have died while in military service to the U.S. The group suggested designating a major highway that runs across the entire state.
Haslam recommended the group contact their representative and Bill Sanderson, representative from District 77, agreed to sponsor the resolution.
The group decided State Route 1 would be the best because it crosses the state from Memphis to Bristol, TN and runs through 23 counties, including Cumberland.
"Once your county has passed the resolution, we need you to contact the state representative for your region to let them know you passed the resolution and contact Bill Sanderson's office. This is a joint venture of all counties involved and I know the Gold Star Families in your county will appreciate your participation," Morel wrote.
Carey told the committee that State Route 1 is actually part of U.S. Hwy. 70, which runs from Pleasant Hill to Westel in Cumberland County.
Once everything is approved by the state, the signs will be placed at the entrance and exit of Cumberland County along State Route 1 and will state, "Gold Star Families Highway-Honoring our Fallen Heroes." The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) will install the signs once everything is approved by the state.
"We will be happy to work with you on this project in any way necessary. Other states have designated highways in this manner and we feel it would be a wonderful way to educate the public and to let people know that we support and honor our heroes from all generations," Morel wrote.
Allen Foster, 4th District commissioner, made a motion to approve the request and resolution. Foster's motion was supported by Mike Harvel, 7th District commissioner.
It was unanimously approved.
The county commission will vote on the resolution during its March monthly meeting on March 17.
In 2013, Cumberland County named a bridge spanning Daddy's Creek on Hwy. 70 E. State Route 1 for Sgt. Morgan W. Strader, a United States Marine from Crossville who was killed in action in Fallujah in 2004.