Kentucky road named for fallen Guardsman

Story courtesy of Tom Mills, The Greensburg Record-Herald

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Raymond Montgomery (left) and Bryan Montgomery stand next to a sign dedicating a Kentucky road in honor of their son and brother, Sgt. Ryan Montgomery in Greensburg, Ky., June 29, 2014. Kentucky State Sen. David Givens introduced a bill renaming the road in honor of Montgomery who was killed in Iraq in 2005. (Photo courtesy of Tom Mills)

GREENSBURG, Ky. — A ceremony  Saturday, June 29 dedicated KY 417 as the Ryan Montgomery Memorial Highway.

Sgt. Ryan Montgomery was killed in action July 3, 2005 in Baghdad as a member of Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery, based in Campbellsville. Nine years later, through the efforts of a former Green County 4-H Agent, a movement to honor his sacrifice culminated when State Sen. David Givens sponsored a bill to name the highway in his honor.

“My sons will see these signs as we travel that road and they are going to ask what it means,” Sen. Givens said. “It’s hard to put into words because the giving of a life for the greatness of our nation is so difficult to measure. Words can’t measure the loss this family has endured, or replace opportunities we will never know about, for Ryan and the people he may have impacted. But the greatness of this nation  we will never forget, and by naming this road for him, we will say to  the nation, the community and his family that we will never forget.”
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A member of 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery, Sgt. Ryan Montgomery was killed when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device in Baghdad, Iraq, July 3, 2005.

The initiative began when Richard Bowling, who was 4-H Agent from 1996-98 began to reconnect with former students through social media.

“We had a very active group and I was blessed to spend two years here with some of the best kids on the planet,” Bowling said. “In 2010 my nieces and nephews talked me into Facebook, and I started trying to find my kids that had meant a lot to me.”

Bowling, who had moved to Winchester, said he found Montgomery’s twin, Bryan, who told him of Ryan’s passing.

“No one had told me, and it broke my heart,”he said. “They were good kids who grew into good men who served to protect our freedoms.”

Bowling said the same day he found out about the Patriot Guard Riders, whose members attend the funerals of members of the U.S. military, firefighters, and police at the invitation of a decedent’s family.

Many members ride motorcycles and more than a dozen attended Saturday’s ceremony, escorting the family from it’s rally point at Northgate Shopping Center along KY 417 to the ceremony at Green County High School.

Bowling began an initiative to get a road memorialized after Montgomery’s mother expressed her concern that he would be forgotten.

“The cost of freedom is very high, and few families know the true cost,” Bowling said. “Teach your children and grandchildren that freedom is not free. It is bought with the blood, sweat and tears of the military and their families.”

KY 417 is appropriate for a Montgomery Memorial on three levels, said Givens and Bowling, because Montgomery grew up past American Legion Park and it leads to both the park and the school complex where Montgomery spent much of his early years.

The dedication is ceremonial and will not change the address of anyone living along the route.

 

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