Skip to main content
State Seal State Seal State Seal
Home Button Home Button Home Button

Ohio 60 highway named after fallen Lowell veteran

Published By Marietta Times on July 14, 2023
Don Jones In The News

Christian D. Ward is already remembered in so many ways, by so many people, here and far away.

On Thursday, his parents and a small support group of local friends marked one more step on the journey to honor the late soldier’s military service and his belief in its righteousness.

 They gathered at the beginning highway marker designating the U.S. Army Specialist Christian D. Ward Memorial Highway, a six-mile stretch of Ohio 60 between Lakeside Motel and the Ohio 60 intersection with Laurel Ridge Road. It’s a fitting location for the soldier who was born and raised in Lowell and still has family there.

Ward, a U.S. Army Specialist crew chief of a UH 60 Blackhawk, was killed in 2019 at age 23 following a training accident at Fort Carson, Colo. He had joined the Army in the summer of 2015, and his company had already been deployed in Joint Special operations in Bulgaria.

His parents, Gary and Karla Ward of Lowell, have faced his loss with specific acts that remind them of Christian’s humanity and giving spirit, as well as his determination to serve the armed forces with everything he had.

“After Chris’ death, the family talked about three goals we would like to achieve,” Gary Ward said. “The first was legislation that would help military families be assured that they would get help from the government in retrieving personal possessions of the deceased, since that might be all they had left, besides memories.”

That goal has been achieved, with much valuable interest and help from U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), Ward said. He and U.S. Rep Mike Turner (R-Ohio) introduced an Army Spc. Christian Ward Act that eventually was incorporated into the National Defense Authorization Act signed into law in late 2022.

“The second goal was a 501(3)(c) to grant $500 scholarships to help those who have decided to join the military after high school,” Ward said.

Through the Marietta Community Foundation, the Christian Ward Scholarship Foundation now supplies those scholarships to help high school grads in Ohio, West Virginia and North Carolina transition into the military.

“And this was our third goal,” Ward said of the new Ohio 60 designation and signage.

This time, it was 95th Dist. Ohio Rep. Don Jones, R-Freeport, who came to the rescue.

“It is amazingly hard to get signs like this put up,” Ward said. “There are numerous committees and things that have to be done and coordinated.

The time and effort Don Jones spent on this was intense. He worked tirelessly to push this through.”

Jones, who was with the Wards’ group Thursday, recalled that he had given sponsor testimony twice to the members of the House Transportation and Public Safety Committee. He started the effort for the Ward highway designation in 2020, was stymied by the COVID disruptions the following year, and started on the legislation again in 2022.

Part of Jones’ sponsor testimony recalled that Christian and his fellow soldiers spent much of their free time during their Bulgaria deployment at a local orphanage. Christian fixed the chains on their bikes and asked family members to send him books and toys for the children during the holidays. He also noted for the record that two of Christian’s five siblings are also in the U.S. military today.

Gary Ward says of Jones’ efforts, “we are so very grateful for his understanding of what this means to our family. Our memories of Chris will be with us and others, too, every time we travel this road.”

Read Full Article