Fallen soldier memorialized along highway

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Updated: 10/08/2012 9:57 am Published: 10/06/2012 10:32 pm

A second fallen soldier from Owasso has been memorialized along part of an Oklahoma highway.

On a wet and icy Saturday afternoon Sgt. Schuyler B. Patch of the Illinois Army National Guard was honored in a ceremony dedicating the 86th Street exit to the 96th Street exit along Highway 169 to his sacrifice.

Sgt. Patch was killed on February 24th, 2009 while serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan after a road side bomb exploded. 

His mother, Colleen Stevens, lives in Owasso and chose to honor her son after state and local dignitaries asked if she wanted to dedicate a part of the highway to him. 

Even though the ceremony for his memorial dedication was today Stevens had seen it already. 

“I got off work Thursday and I saw them putting the sign up,” said Stevens.  “So I went over there and the highway workers were all looking at me and I said I am his mother and they said you can stand here as long as you want.  So I got to see them raise the sign, by myself, it was really kind of touching.”

Stevens hugged everyone who came up to her at the ceremony.  There were dozens of Patriot Guard Riders and American Legion and other veteran motorcycle groups there to show their support; along with other Gold Star families.  Gold Star families are families who have lost a loved one while they were serving our country. 

“He was here today,” said Stevens.  “I know that he protected these riders as they drove up from all over Oklahoma. They had an angel on their back.”

Several of Sgt. Patch’s Army comrades spoke at the dedication recalling Sgt. Patch’s fun personality and how much they miss him. 

“We ordered some lasagna that you would stick in an oven,” said Sgt. Robert Burr.  “Well, we had nothing to cook them in, and I was like well, what are we going to do with these? Schuyler says, give them to me.  15 minutes later he is out there barbequing lasagnas, and it was some of the most amazing stuff we had over there!”

Sgt. Burr’s story made Stevens laugh; confirming that is what her son would have done. 

“I have been in a fog the past three years,” said Stevens.  “I am just starting to remember things that have happened since the army cam and knocked on my doors. It’s bee really tough.”

She said she struggled with everything but it was events like Saturday’s highway memorial dedication that made it easier.  Her father, Dave Gorey agreed. 

“Everyday it doesn’t change,” said Gorey.  “It’s like it was yesterday, four years later it still…”

“He was my baby before he was ever a soldier, now he is God’s soldier,” said Stevens.  “I was a ball of emotion.  I am proud. I am still angry.  I am sad-- all rolled into one, but things like this bring a little bit of love into this already broken heart of mine.”

Sgt. Patch’s memorial is one of three fallen soldier highway memorials along Highway 169. 

Fallen soldier, Spc. Christopher D. Horton had the section between 106th and 116th dedicated to him last month.

Another fallen soldier, Sgt. Andrew Looney will have 96th to 106th dedicated to him soon.

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