The final wording was in the works, but Rep. Sue Boldra, R-Hays, wasn’t expecting much of a holdup on this bill in Topeka.
Instead, the representative of the 111th House District is hoping it sails through the Statehouse, allowing for proper honors to be bestowed.
Boldra said Tuesday afternoon she was proposing a bill to name the interchange at Interstate 70 and Commerce Parkway in honor of fallen soldier Chief Warrant Officer 4 David R. Carter, who has ties to Hays and was buried in Colorado.
Boldra said the memorial would serve as a fitting tribute to a man who paid the ultimate sacrifice, and it would show support for veterans and fallen soldiers in this time of frustration and confusion involving Veterans Affairs in the country.
“It’s a very timely memorial, I think,” Boldra said. “I’ve got the language written, and the reviser is going over it. I don’t think it will be a difficult task.”
Carter was one of 30 U.S. soldiers who died when their Chinook helicopter was shot down Aug. 6, 2011, in Afghanistan. Carter was a 1982 graduate of Hays High School and a 1986 graduate of Fort Hays State University.
If — and when — the bill is approved, money will need to be raised to help offset the cost of the signage for the interchange. Donations will need to be gathered to offset the cost of placing the signs, plus an additional 50 percent of the initial cost to defray future maintenance or replacement. Once the necessary funds are raised, construction of the signs will be done by the highway department.
“The process is started,” Boldra said. “It’s time to get it going and get the discussion started.”
Also onboard that same helicopter was Chief Warrant Officer 2 Bryan Nichols. Nichols was a 1998 graduate of Thomas More Prep-Marian High School. Funeral services for Nichols were in Al Billinger Fieldhouse.
Nichols, in 2012, was honored by a memorial highway marker thanks to former Sen. Allen Schmidt. Schmidt was influential in getting the interchange of I-70 and U.S. Highway 183 named CW2 Bryan J. Nichols Fallen Veterans Memorial Interchange.
The fundraising process for Carter is similar to the one used for Nichols a few years ago. Nearly $14,000 was needed to be raised to secure those in 2012 — according to notes attached to the legislation.