State Legislature approves new name for I-990


    Designates I-990 as “Staff Sergeant William R. Wilson III Memorial Highway”

    Albany, N.Y. – State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced that legislation to designate a portion of the I-990 as the “Staff Sergeant William R. Wilson III Memorial Highway” has passed both houses of the State Legislature.


    Senator Ranzenhofer introduced the bill earlier this year.


    “I am honored to report that a bill to rename a portion of the interstate highway 990 after the late Staff Sergeant Wilson has passed both houses of the State Legislature, and it will eventually be delivered to the Governor’s desk for his consideration.  Staff Sergeant Wilson’s exceptional service to our country should never be forgotten, and designating the I-990 in honor of him is a fitting expression of our gratitude and admiration.  The “Staff Sergeant William R. Wilson III Memorial Highway” will celebrate his life and forever remind our community that he made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Ranzenhofer.


    Assemblyman Raymond Walter sponsored the bill in the State Assembly.


    “William distinguished himself among 600 hundred soldiers as one of two top squad leaders in his battalion and was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. This highway naming will serve as a lasting tribute to a young man who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. I am humbled to be able to be the sponsor of this legislation and honor a true American hero,” said Walter. 


    “Our family appreciates the support of Senator Ranzenhofer and Assemblyman Walter in honoring our son, Billy.  This means the world to his brothers, Jeremy and Wesley, and all of Billy's friends, family and brothers-in-arms,” said Wilson’s parents, William and Kimberly.


    The legislation, S.3550B/A.7206, amends the State Highway Law to designate a portion of interstate highway 990 in Erie County to celebrate the late Staff Sergeant Wilson.  The State Senate passed the bill on May 21. The Assembly passed the bill on Monday.  


    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.


    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.  


    According to Staff Sgt Wilson’s Battalion commander, Wilson distinguished himself among 600 soldiers as one of the two top squad leaders.  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.