SALINAS, Calif. - Soon, 5 highway stretches in Monterey County will be named after local fallen veterans.
This week, the State Senate gave a final approval to Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 57, authored by State Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) and Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) and sponsored by the County of Monterey, to name highway stretches after 5 fallen Monterey County veterans.
The measure was previously approved by the State Assembly. Supervisor Luis Alejo originally proposed the legislation and says it’s the proper way our state can honor the fallen veterans and their families of Monterey County. Alejo was originally approached by several families of the fallen veterans who asked for help to obtain approval for the highway sign designations.
The legislation required a nod by the State Assembly and Senate and now authorizes CalTrans to install the signs in the 5 designated highway stretches. Funding for the signs will still have to be privately raised by the family members, but community residents can also donate for the sign installations.
"These highway stretches will now forever carry the names of our five fallen heroes of Monterey County," said Supervisor Luis Alejo and chair of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. "They paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country and now we can honor them by installing highway signs that will make sure their names and sacrifice will never be forgotten by our local communities. I want to thank Senators Cannella and Monning for carrying the legislation and I salute all the families who wanted to honor their loved ones by having their names become a permanent part of our communities."
The following veterans will be those honored:
U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Edward Balli, age 42, from Salinas, California and a North Salinas High School graduate, was killed in action in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan on January 20, 2014, and received two Bronze Stars for his service in Iraq and Afghanistan. A portion of State Route 183 in the City of Salinas from Davis Road to Espinosa Road will be designated as the "United States Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Edward Balli Memorial Highway."
U.S. Army Ranger and Specialist Ricardo Cerros, Jr., age 24, from Salinas, California and an Everett Alvarez High School graduate, was killed in action in Logar Province, Afghanistan on October 8, 2011, and received the Purple Heart. A portion of State Highway 101 from Esperanza Road to Gould Road will be designated as the "United States Army Specialist Ricardo Cerros, Jr. Memorial Highway"
U.S. Army Sgt. Javier Sanchez, age 28, from Greenfield, California and a Ventana Continuation High School graduate, was killed in action in Sar Rowzah, Afghanistan on June 23, 2013, and received the Afghanistan and Iraq Campaign Medals. A portion of State Highway 101 from Hudson near the City of Soledad to Espinosa Road near the City of Greenfield will be designated as the "United States Army Sgt. Javier Sanchez Memorial Highway."
U.S. Army Specialist Vilmar Galarza Hernandez, age 21, of Salinas, California and an Everett Alvarez High School graduate, was killed in action in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan on May 26, 2012, and received a Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal. Request a portion of State Highway 183 in the City of Salinas from Highway 101 to Davis Road will be designated as the "United States Army Specialist Vilmar Galarza Hernandez Memorial Highway."
U.S. Army Private First Class Conrado D. Javier, age 19, from Marina, California, and a Seaside High School graduate, was killed in action in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, on December 19, 2010. A portion of State Highway 218 between the junction of State Route 68 in the City of Del Rey Oaks to and the junction of State Highway 1 in the City of Seaside will be designated as the "United States Army Private First Class Conrado D. Javier Memorial Highway."