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Friday was the ceremony dedicating part of the highway to U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Lester "Buddy" Kinney II, who was killed in 2004 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The dedication ceremony was held in the fire hall at the South Zanesville Fire Department where Buddy's family, friends and local officials spoke on his behalf.
"It's just an honor that I had an opportunity to be a part of this naming in honor of Buddy because Buddy is a real hero; him and his family. That's what I want to make sure comes out of this. We want to honor those who have died for freedom and put their life on the line and that's really what this is about," said Brian Hill, State Representative in Zanesville.
Rep. Hill says the bill to dedicate the highway for Buddy was adopted last December after it passed through the Senate and the House. Buddy's younger brother, Kurtis Bennett flew in from out of town to honor his older brother. Bennett says he really looked up to buddy and describes his older brother as a risk taker.
Bennett said, "My brother was a daredevil. He would do anything somebody dared him to. He would skateboard down a hill at 50mph and hit a ramp just to do it because nobody thought he could. He was so accident prone I think going to the Airborne and the Army was his way of controlling things."
Bennett says he talked to his brother a lot even though they were states away from each other and says when he needed words of encouragement, Buddy was just a phone call away.
"Actually I talked to him a week before he deployed to Iraq and got killed. There was something about the conversation. We actually told each other we loved him, that we loved each other before we hung up, so it was kind of special."
Bennett says Ohio, Muskingum County and Zanesville have been overly supportive of his family and says he truly appreciates everything they have done.
"The emotions going through right now are both sad for the reason that were having this but on the same time, it's a sense of pride."
Buddy is the first service man from Muskingum County to die while serving in Iraq. The two signs are at the north and south entrances to the city.