Burgess parents testify on memorial highway bill

Lance Cpl. Ryan Burgess was a talented Marine and a dedicated patriot who loved his family and his country. Unfortunately, Burgess made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of freedom and our way of life. The people of Sanford and the entire region were deeply saddened by his loss.

Ryan’s parents, Jon and Kim Burgess, testified on Thursday in support of my legislation to permanently honor Burgess, who was killed by an improvised explosion device in Iraq in December 2006.

Senate Bill 481 would designate a portion of US-10 in Sanford as the “Marine Lance Corporal Ryan Burgess Memorial Highway.”

Burgess was a graduate of Meridian High School. He served as a vehicle commander and squad leader and was serving his second tour in Iraq at the time of his death. His marksmanship skills during boot camp earned him the Expert Rifle Marksmanship Badge. These skills were called upon during his tours in Iraq, as he often served as a sniper.

It is important for our country to remember and honor the courage, dedication and sacrifice of heroes like Ryan. This memorial highway will be a reminder to the entire community of the life of a native son who never returned home.

The Senate Transportation Committee has approved the bill, which now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

The bill would have no fiscal impact on the state or local government. Under state law, the Michigan Department of Transportation can place markers indicating the name of a memorial bridge only “when sufficient private contributions are received to completely cover the cost of erecting and maintaining those markers.”