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Local representative and veterans seek designation for I-49 - KOAM TV 7

Local representative and veterans seek designation for I-49

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

A local state Representative is looking to honor veterans.    

Local veterans Ron Mosbaugh and Gary Reed are both highly decorated. They reflect on their time in Vietnam, both received purple hearts.

“We were pinned down in rice patties and we called in for fire support and the first spotter round landed in the middle of us and several of us got white phosphorus burns and shrapnel and that's when I received one of my Purple Hearts. Another one was from a grenade,” says Mosbaugh.

“I tripped a booby trap and I was blown about 15 feet in the air, I received shrapnel in both legs and my behind and I lost hearing,” says Reed.

And to honor them and millions of others, 175 miles of I-49 could soon be designated as the "Purple Heart Memorial Highway.” Local representative Charlie Davis is working to pass a bill this session to do just that.

“To name highway 49 from Jane all the way up to Kansas City Purple Heart Highway, I think would be something that would be awesome because it honors every man and woman that served our country,” says Davis.

“I-49 is our territory. It’s our land. And we want our people to be proud and recognize these veterans,” says Reed.

Private donations will be used to purchase the signs and the Military Order of the Purple Heart chapter 821 in Joplin has already donated $15,000 to the cause. But they still $11,000 more.

“It’s a visual reminder to the public of what Purple Heart recipients went through to protect our country and defend it,” says Mosbaugh.

And while the men have pride in their accomplishments, the signs are to recognize the other 1.8 million veterans with purple hearts.

“About a quarter of them received them because they were killed in action by enemy fire or enemy explosion and so we're not recognizing our self or our unit here. This stands for all of those, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” adds Reed.

If the law passes, the new signs could be on I-49 by summer. The signs will be in Joplin, Neosho, Carthage, Nevada, Butler and Harrisonville. They’re looking for corporate and individual sponsors. To donate, contact Ron Mosbaugh at (417) 782-7728.

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