October 26th 2014 Update
Earlier this year before any of the 5 signs were installed, there was discussion between HHP and ODOT on the look of the signs.
On the signs HHP designed on Photoshop, there were the words DEDICATED TO under the word Highway, the deceased Rank, and the country of death was at the bottom.
ODOT wanted to remove the DEDICATED TO and place of death. To us, that made the sign look just like the signs for Fallen Police Officers
Both Fallen Officers and Military are Heroes in their own right, but we felt the signs should be different enough to differentiate one from the other.
We asked ODOT to consider adding the Military Branch at the bottom in trade for not having Rank. This made the signs different from each other.
At ODOTs urging, we also agreed to drop the words DEDICATED TO. This was done to make the sign easier to read as you drive by it. The space saved allowed
the letters that make up the name be bigger. I finally had the time to go through all of the Photoshop signs and edit them to what they really look like.
Please visit the Gallery to view the names of our Heroes
October 7th Update
On October 7th 2014 a ceremony was held in Salem to unveil the Heroes Highway Sign sign for US Marine Cpl. Adam Buyes of Salem.
Adam lost his life in Afghanistan on November 26th 2011
Adams sign is the 5th of 5 signs approved by the Oregon Legislature during the 2013 session. His sign was part of HB3494 that approved
a sign for Hero Tyrone Woods who lost his life in Libya in 2012
After the ceremony, Adams sign was installed on the westbound side of Hwy 22, on the way to the coast that Adam enjoyed.
QMADP was at the ceremony and took many pictures of the events. Follow this link >>>>Buyes Sign Pictures to see the pictures.
September 6th 2014 Update
On Friday September 5th the Fallen Hero Roadside Sign honoring Navy Seal Tyrone Woods was unveiled in Oregon City.
Here is the article in the Portland Tribune.>>>>>>>Portland Tribune Article
This sign is the 4th of 5 approved in the Oregon Legislature in 2013. Please this article about this honor for Tyrone…..then take an hour or so and read about the life he led and the lives he saved.
Thank God for men like him !!
I will be adding more pictures from the dedication and pictures of my visit to the sign on OR-213
August 9th 2014 Update
It has taken a couple of months, but we have finally received the 1st Heroes Highway Challenge coins !
These have the Heroes Highway Project logo on the back and a picture of my son Tyler Troyer on the front.
Tyler’s Sign was paid for by Renee and David Mangan, so I had these made to sell to raise money to help families of
Oregon’s Fallen Heroes pay the $600.00 fee for an approved sign.
Dave Troyer and I hope to partially fund up to 7 seven signs with the proceeds from the sale of this coin.
We both hope that other families of Oregon’s Fallen Heroes follow the example we set and pay it forward.
Get your challenge coin today…..and support a great cause !!
July 31st 2014 Update
I am pleased to announce that the Heroes Highway Sign for Kevin Davis was installed on July 31st at Mile post 14.87 on West Bound HWY 34.
This is just west of Denny School Road. This completes the 3 signs that were approved by the Oregon Legislature in 2013 by HB2708.
The handprints on the back that Kevin’s daughter placed there were covered by plastic that should preserve them for a few months at least.
I added 9 photos to the Davis Sign Page HERE Check them out.
The sign was installed by ODOT crew members Dave Hacek, Kevin Bryan, and Ben Foltz. Thank You guys…..and ODOT for installing these….
I know it means a lot to you guys to do this for us !
July 26th 2014 Update
What a great day !!
It was a long time coming, but finally we were able to see the sign made for Kevin Davis and it takes your breath away a little to see it in person.
The ceremony could not have been any better !
Rep Sherrie Sprenger got things started and then there were comments from his Father Darrell, Mom in Law Francis, Wife Robbin and several from his comrades he served with in Iraq.
Others speaking worked with him in Lebanon at the police department.
Several of his 1982 West Albany High classmates came too to meet the family and see the sign.
I hope more ceremonies for other Fallen Hero’s go like this one did.
Nobody attending could ever say that Kevin was not well liked, loved, and respected by many people.
I think the most touching part for me was watching Kevin’s Daughter Makenna trace her hands on the back of her Dad’s sign and write a little note too.
So glad I got to be there !! RIP Kevin……..we have not forgotten your life and sacrifice….nor will we.
More pictures can be found >>>>>> HERE
July 13th 2014 Update: Paying It Forward
On October 13th 2013 we received devastating news that Tyler’s uncle David Mangan suddenly passed away. We were in shock.
David was a huge family friend and he and his wife Renee were devastated when they learned of Tyler’s death in 2005.
David and Renee both came with us in 2002 when Tyler graduated from Boot Camp.
So when Tyler was killed they both were touched by that because they were so supportive of what he as doing.
Renee and David both had been following this project and they knew Tyler’s sign was approved.
At the time of the Bill’s passing nobody knew exactly what the costs were going to be. There wasn’t even a ODOT form available to apply for a sign.
So there was more waiting.
The word came from Abby at REP Olson’s office that the sign would in fact cost $600 and Katie from ODOT sent me a link
to the application form we would need to have the sign made.
I remember my wife Terri, after talking to Renee, asking me if it would be OK if Renee paid for Tyler’s sign. I my instinct was to say no….
It was our responsibility to take care of this……..but I also knew how much David loved Tyler and would want to do this.
So I put aside my pride and Renee sent us a check for Tyler’s sign. It meant a lot to hold that check, and think about what David would have wanted.
I did take solace in the thought that they were now together in Heaven.
The unselfishness shown here is a great example of what is possible. It would be so great if the State paid for these signs…….but since that is not going to happen,
the next best thing is to have friends and family step forward.
To my surprise though….there are other ways.
The reality of the situation is that there are many families that lost a love one in these 2 wars,
but they do not have the $600.00 to pay for the sign….so why go through the Bill process ?
I have been asked by many folks “How can I help ?” or “Where can I send money?” These are good questions and I am glad folks want to help.
The best way to help Families of these Heroes is to spread the word about these signs and this project.
It cannot be successful if nobody knows about it. Even if you are not a family member, just spreading the word is helping.
As for funding of these signs, I have had people send me money that will be given to the families that need it, and I am glad to do so, but it is not the best way.
There are many ways of going out there and raising the $600.00 needed. GoFundMe.com, car washes, raffles, etc.
When word gets out what the money being raised is going for. the support will be overwhelming.
The best way, in my opinion, to fund these signs is to Pay It Forward.
HB 2708 provided for Hwy Signs for Spc. Eric McKinley, LCpl. Tyler Troyer, and SGT Kevin Davis.
Eric’s folks paid for his sign, Tyler’s was paid for in Memoriam of David Mangan by his wife Renee. Nobody knew about Kevin’s sign.
I graduated from West Albany High School in 1982 with Kevin, so it was personal to follow up and see why we had heard nothing about his sign.
Fellow classmate Brenda Cooper reached out and we finally got in touch with his family.
We learned the fund raising was not going well, and I asked if we could do it for her.
When she said yes, Brenda went to our 1982 Graduating class on Facebook and told them about the sign for Kevin.
We asked if folks could chip in $25 for Kevin’s sign to help out the family.
Needless to say the donations and letters poured in and not only did they donate the $600 needed…..they donated ANOTHER $550 on top of that !!
This is where pay it forward comes into it. In 2007, 2005 West Albany graduate Kory Wiens, and his service dog Cooper, were killed in Afghanistan
while serving in the Army.
It was a proud moment, but my 1982 classmates wanted the extra money they donated for Kevin to go toward a sign for Kory.
That is paying it forward !! Bulldogs taking care of Bulldogs ! Last year I designed a Heroes Highway Project challenge coin that I was going to have made and sell. I shelved the idea.
After Tyler’s sign was paid for, and Kevin’s sign was paid for…..I decided to make the challenge coin. Since I do not have to fund Tyler’s sign,
all of the profits made from this coin will be used to fund signs for others. It is my hope that when families receive more donations than they need, that they will
Pay it Forward to help others that need it……then they can do the same.
July 9th 2014 Update
Just quick note to tell everyone that Kevin Davis’s mother called me and told me that ODOT had called and said Kevin’s sign is complete !!
There WILL be a public unveiling. I will let all of you know when that will be just as soon as I get a confirmation.
I do know that it will most likely be on a Saturday.
I will have the sign location in the next few days and I will ride out to the spot and photograph it.
No date on installation yet…..but that will come soon.
June 21 2014 Update
I have fantastic news to share with all of you !
HB 2708 was passed in 2013 allowing roadside memorial signs for Tyler Troyer, Eric McKinley, and Kevin Davis.
Signs have been erected for Tyler and Eric on OR Hwy 34. I have been curious about the sign for Kevin because I have heard absolutely nothing about it and ODOT had not heard anything either.
My wife Terri found the Davis’s phone number and I called Mrs. Davis and asked her about Kevin’s sign.
As it turned out she was waiting for some contact from ODOT on what to do next since the Bill passed. It pleased me that I was able to help her out and tell her what needed to be done next.
I asked her about the funding for Kevin’s sign and she said it was not going well. I graduated from West Albany High school in 1982 with Kevin, and one of his friends and classmate Brenda Cooper-Cole,
suggested that maybe we could ask our graduating class for $25.00 donations to help pay for Kevin’s sign.
Before we did this it was important to me to ask the Davis’s if it was OK if we did this for them.
Needless to say they were touched and overjoyed by this prospect….and knowing that Kevin’s sign would soon be up !!
Brenda put out the request to our classmates and within 3 days she had received replies for donations that MORE than covered the cost of the sign !!
Within days the donations came in along with notes and letters.
On June 21st Brenda and her daughter Brianna drove all the way here from Bend with $600.00 for the sign.
At Elmer’s Pancake House we met up with the Davis Family and Brenda presented them with the funding for Kevin’s sign.
We shared a great lunch together and heard stories about Kevin’s life….it was so nice to learn things about Kevin that I never knew….and only a parent could tell.
Kevin’s brother Brian came too and all of them were so grateful.
My hat is off to Brenda and our fellow classmates for bringing this joy to the Davis family.
It gets even better…….it looks like the leftover donated funds will be used to fund another sign…..more details on that later !!
Thank You ! Thank You ! Thank You !!
June 13th 2014 Update
On Friday the 13th, June 13th 2014, Tom and Jennifer McKinley stood along OR Hwy 34 and watched as crew members from
the Oregon Department of Transportation raised and installed the sign bearing the name of their son,Eric McKinley,
onto the post that marked the spot that they had chosen to have this sign installed.
This was not an easy day for the McKinley family, because June 13th marked the 10 year ANGELversary of Erics 2004 death in Iraq
Eric’s Father Tom had this to say :”On this day 6/13/2014 marks 10 years ago that our son Eric made the ultimate sacrifice and gave his life defending our country.
Today we remembered him with a sign dedicating a section of Hwy 34 to him. No words can describe the emotions we feel on this day but seeing his sign up makes it better.”
Personally….I had a long weird day. ODOT rules prohibit a crowd gathering for the sign install for safety reasons…….which I understand and respect.
But since Tom helped me with this project I felt a need to be there and honor Eric and record the moment. I think not being able to be there was hard on me since I
wanted so much to be there so Tom and Jennifer could just sit back and enjoy the moment.
Just as soon as I got home, I fired up the Harley and rode out to the sign. It was emotional for me to be there and see it in person.
The emotions did not come over me when i watched Tyler’s sign go up…….but for some reason this one did.
I think it is just the realization of the very loss I have suffered……and that others hurt just as I do.
Below the picture are is a Google Map to the signs location for those who want to visit them.
I hope….that these signs help those that have lost part of themselves….. More pictures >>>>> HERE
June 7th 2014 Update
On September 28th 2012, Dave Troyer and myself met with Representative Andy Olson at Elmer’s in Albany.
The meeting was to talk about erecting signs to honor Oregonians Killed in Action in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or in support of those wars.
After countless emails, phone calls, testimony, votes, anger, hurt, and elation…..it all finally came together.
On Tyler’s 30th birthday when ODOT employees Rich Stinson, Dave Hacek and Ben Foltz, working on a Saturday, installed Tyler’s sign on its post.
At that very moment…..all of the effort it took from that 1st meeting on……Paid off !!
Personally….standing there watch it go up…..I was overcome with pride that this project is a good thing.
Not only will it help educate the public about these heroes, it will keep their memory alive….and most importantly….it will bring a measure of healing to those closest to the Hero.
Those are all very good things that cannot be purchased anywhere for the $600.00 cost of the sign. It was damn well worth it !!
Below the picture of the sign is a Google Map of the location of Tyler’s sign for those who want to visit it.
A debt of gratitude is owed to Andy Olson, Abby Weekly, Katie Thiel, Paul Mather, and Michael Shaffer for all of your help and input into getting this done.
It would NOT have happened without them !! More pictures >>>>> HERE
June 2 2014 Update
Eric Mckinley’s Sign location
I had the privilege to ride out to the spot on OR 34 where Eric McKinley’s sign will be placed.
It is a great spot for the sign. The McKinley Family did a great job picking this place.
I walked across the HWY and just watched the post, the cars whizzing by and just imagined how many folks will see this sign on their way to watch a football game at RESER ?
Thousands from out of state will see this sign with an Oregon Heroes name on it.
I hope they look him up when they get home and learn something about Eric.
Today though….the traffic was light….so I could mostly just look and try to imagine what it will look like when the sign is installed.
On June 13th, ODOT will install Eric’s sign.
It is a very important day that Tom and Jennifer chose, because on that day, 10 years before, Eric lost his life in Iraq.
Tom and Jennifer…..please know our thoughts and prayers will be with you guys that day….and I am sure Eric will be there with you….proud of you both !
April 28 2014 Update
Unveiling of McKinley and Troyer signs
On April 28th 2014, there was a small ceremony at the Post 10 American Legion in Albany, Oregon
where two of the approved 5 Heroes Highway signs were unveiled for the public to see.
It was also the 1st time that the families got to see the real signs. I think I speak for most that it
was much more emotional to see those names than we thought…..it really grabs you.
Oregon Rep. Andy Olson spoke 1st and he talked about Eric and Tyler, how they grew up and how they came to serve
our country…..and ultimately be killed in action in Iraq
Much is owed to Rep Olson for all of the hard work he put in to get this project off the ground,
but I also want to thank Andy’s Assistant……Super Abby Weekly….and Katie Thiel of ODOT for
all of their efforts too !! None of this would have been possible without them !
A special Thanks too for all of the folks at POST 10 for hosting our event…much appreciated !!
March 22 2014 Update
This project is finally making some movement forward.
The location of Tyler’s sign has been chosen. I have marked its location along HWY 34 here in Tangent.
One of the cool things about this location is that Terri Thorpe will see it every day on her way to work,
and we both will get to see it on our way to visit his grave site.
It sits across the highway from a Christian school that also has a flag pole.
Not sure if the school flies a flag on it, but if they don’t I would want to ask them if they would if I supplied the flag.
I think that would be cool.
I also hope to use the State Of Oregon’s Adopt-A-Highway program to adopt 2 miles of Hwy 34 where the sign is so we can keep the area clean.
The GPS Coordinates are LAT 44 degrees 35′ 39.995″ by LONG -123 degrees 7′ 27.133″
March 22 2014 Update
I want to apologize for the lack of updates/information on this project
other than adding the names of new heroes.
In all honesty, since HB3494 and HB2708 passed the House and Senate and were signed into law
there has been nothing to add because both of those laws could not go into effect until January of 2014.
So it was hurry up and wait when it would have been nice to get the signs made and put up.
In the meantime I have stayed in touch with REP. Olsen and ODOT. Come January 2014 i was wondering what now ?
There are 5 approved signs from HB 2708 and HB 3494
Spc Eric S Mckinley
LCpl. Tyler J Troyer
SSgt Kevin Davis
Tyrone S Woods
Cpl. Adam J Buyes
One of the things I wondered about is why do we have to have such a delay ?
The signs are paid for by the families and installed by ODOT……so there is no cost
to taxpayers ?
The reason being is that each sign requires a change to the administrative rules that ODOT follows.
The had to be a law and rule change for each sign/bill that was approved.
I have no idea why this was set up this way, but it is going to change.
This program was supposed to mirror the Fallen Officer program that allows signs for Fallen Law Enforcement.
The Law Enforcement program differs in that The Legislature only needs to pass a Concurrent Resolution recognizing the sacrifice of the officer named.
Once that happens and it is signed, the familiy only needs to fill out and mail in the application with the money and the sign can be made and installed
just as soon as ODOT approves the location.
No waiting until January before you can do anything.
The Fallen officer program has a web page on the State of Oregon website.
Here is a link to that site: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/TRAFFIC-ROADWAY/Pages/Fallen-Officer.aspx
I have good news on changes that will be made, and bad news too.
The good news is that Rep Olsen intends to work on legislation that will make the Fallen Hero program work just like the Fallen officer one.
There will be a website, an application, sign construction and installation upon the passing of the Resolution allowing sign.
This is great news and will allow Resolutions to be written, passed, and these Heroes recognized along Oregons Highways.
Now for the bad.
This year (2014) is a short session for the Oregon Legislature. In fact they have adjourned for 2014.
So what needs to be done ? This Fall is when Bills for the next session (2015) will be drawn, several Senators and Representatives are sure to back
legislation drawn up to bring the Fallen Heroes Highway program in line with the Fallen Officer one. Even though the Bill will get drawn up and drafted this year,
it will be during the 2015 Legislative Session that this Bill gets any action. I am fully confident it will pass. As with others Bills, once this is signed by the Governor,
it will be 2016 before it takes affect.
So it will be during the 2016 session that the 1st Referendums could be passed, and more Hero signs installed.
I know it totally sucks that this seems like it will take forever to get going…..I agree. But it will get done, and with the changes being made it will be so much easier to get
the Referendums through and these signs put up for our Heroes.
What can you do ? Well, in about a year from now, or maybe a little earlier or later, there will be discussion on this Bill that will make these changes. I have no doubt when it comes to a vote on the House
or Senate floor…..it will pass. I do belive that when this Bill is in committee, and there is an opportunity for the public to testify, this would a great way to participate in our government and
show your support for this Bill. I plan on testifying personally and I plan on posting Committee hearing dates here as I get the info. Sometimes there is not a lot of lead time, sometimes there is.
I am going to very glad to see the sign with my son Tyler’s name on it go up. It will bring great pride to be able to drive by it and see his name, and know many others do too.
But it is just one sign. I really hope that most of the families will want to do this for their lost Hero, and I look forward to the process becoming much easier for them to get it done.
March 22 2014 Update
After Tyler’s and Eric’s apps were turned in, which included pictures of the signs that were made in Photoshop, we were informed they would not look like that.
All that could be on the sign below Dedicated To was name with rank. No Branch or place of death.
Man…..I was wondering what else could go wrong ?
Katie at ODOT was super to deal with and we explained to her that if the sign is done like that, folks will think it is a fallen officer because the rank does not differentiate
between police and military.
So it was proposed that we trade rank for branch so that the signs are different other than 1 word. We waited 4 days and she got back to us with an OK on the swap.
She also suggested, to lessen the word count, to remove Dedicated To from the sign as well. We were not too sure about that, but she sent us a sample.
We actually liked it, so that is what Tylers and Erics signs will look like.
ODOT will leave the words Dedicated To if the family wants to, but there will be no rank or place of death.
We can live with that compromise, and we hope all of you will like what the signs will look like.
June 25th 2013 Update
On Tuesday June 25th, 3 of Oregon’s Hero’s, Eric Mckinley, Kevin Davis, Tyler Troyer, who gave their lives in Iraq,
will officially be able to be honored by roadside signs erected in their honor.
A lot will actually have to happen before these signs can be made and installed, but it is great that the Governor will sign this Bill and make it official.
Even though this went pretty smooth…..it really needs to be smoother, and easier to get done for all of the Gold Star Families out there that want to do this for their Hero.
Just as soon as this is done, I want to get the rest of what will make this possible figured out.
Come this Fall it is my sincere hope to present to the Legislature a Bill that will make doing this a stand alone project where families can start this themselves with their
Representatives and Senators, where all of the costs are known in advance.
There is no reason why this cannot be made easier. Everyone of those Hero’s deserves to have a sign with their name on it along our highways for all to see and remember.
I hate that this is not going to be a free thing for the families, but there just was no way to avoid it.
But the best thing to help out this project is to promote it and make sure it makes it to the Gold Star Families.
I know I can speak for Tom and Dave in saying that we would LOVE to help any family get this going that wants to, and testify at any hearing that we are asked to.
As these wars wind down, lets keep these Hero’s alive by remembering them.