Senate approves Burgess memorial highway bill

Sen. Jim Stamas

Sen. Jim Stamas

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved Sen. Jim Stamas’ legislation to permanently honor Marine Lance Cpl. Ryan Burgess, who was killed by an improvised explosion device in Iraq in December 2006.

“This measure is a way for us to express our appreciation for the valiant service of Lance Corporal Ryan Burgess,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “Ryan was a dedicated and fearless Marine who made the ultimate sacrifice protecting our freedom and way of life. Honoring the courage, commitment and selflessness of heroes like Ryan Burgess helps us remember the true cost of freedom and ensure we continue to have Americans like him willing to defend it.”

Senate Bill 481 would designate a portion of US-10 from Stark Road to River Road 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.

“Lance Corporal Burgess loved his family and his country, and the people of Sanford and the entire region were deeply saddened by his loss,” Stamas said. “This memorial highway will be a reminder to the entire community of the life of a native son who never returned home.”

Burgess’ parents, Jon and Kim Burgess, recently spoke before the Senate Transportation Committee in support of the bill, which now heads to the House of Representatives 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 highway only “when sufficient private contributions are received to completely cover the cost of erecting and maintaining those markers.”