New designation for interstate highway 990 unveiled


Honors late Staff Sergeant William R. Wilson III

West Amherst, NY– State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer and State Assemblyman Ray Walter, along with members of The Wilson Family, today unveiled the interstate highway 990’s new designation as the “Staff Sergeant William R. Wilson III Memorial Highway.”


“This new designation will celebrate the life of Staff Sergeant Wilson, while forever reminding our community of his sacrifice to our nation.  It has been truly an honor to work closely with the Wilson Family to properly recognize their son’s distinguished service,” said Ranzenhofer.  “Staff Sergeant Wilson’s sacrifice to our country should never be forgotten, and honoring him by renaming a highway in his hometown community is a fitting expression of our gratitude and admiration.  I especially want to share my appreciation with his parents, William and Kimberly, for sharing Billy’s story with me and the entire community.”


“This highway naming will serve as a lasting tribute to a young man who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country," said Walter.  “It is because of people like Billy and families like the Wilson's that we enjoy the blessings of liberty.  May this memorial be a constant reminder of the service and sacrifice necessary to secure that liberty.”


“We would like to thank Senator Ranzenhofer and Assemblyman Walter and all that supported the dedication of the I-990 to now be known as the “William R Wilson III Memorial Highway.”  It is a great honor to know that Billy will never be forgotten for his dedication and commitment to our Country. We would also like to thank our community for their continued support, as well as our family and friends.  It is important to us that none of our fallen heroes be forgotten,” said The Wilson Family.


Senator Ranzenhofer authored legislation, sponsored by Assemblyman Walter in the State Assembly, earlier this year to amend the State Highway Law to designate the interstate highway 990 to celebrate the late Staff Sergeant Wilson.  Governor Cuomo signed it into law in July.


The New York State Department of Transportation has erected signs marking the new designation, one off Millersport Highway when driving on the I-990 South and another off the I-290 when driving North on the I-990. 


Staff Sgt. Wilson served as a squad leader for the 2nd Platoon of the 172nd Separate Infantry Brigade, headquartered in Grafenwoehr, Germany.  Known as “Billy” to so many of his family and friends, he grew up in Getzville and graduated from Williamsville North High School in 2003.  


Staff Sgt. Wilson served on two combat deployments to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and one tour of duty during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.  While in Afghanistan, he was training Afghan soldiers and police to take over the country’s security.  He was killed in action while in Paktika Province, located in the eastern part of Afghanistan, on March 26, 2012.  He was 27 years old.


He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.  He also received the National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, and Afghanistan Campaign Medal; as well as the Army Service Ribbon and Overseas Service Ribbon.