Community gathers to honor fallen local soldier at dedication of 'Christopher J. Scott Memorial Highway'
Dundee, N.Y., September 8—Earlier this year, in June, the New York State Legislature approved legislation sponsored by Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C-Big Flats) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) to designate a portion of State Route 14A between the town of Reading in Schuyler County and the village of Dundee in Yates County as the “Christopher J. Scott Memorial Highway.”
The designation honors the memory and pays tribute to the life and service of United States Army Specialist Christopher J. Scott, a Dundee High School graduate, who was killed on September 3, 2011 while serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
At a ceremony late yesterday morning at the Dundee High School football field, O'Mara and Palmesano joined members of Scott’s family -- his mother, Tammy, and brothers Michael and Daniel -- and friends of the fallen soldier, American Legion Commander Tom Boorom and other area veterans and officials to unveil the state Department of Transportation (DOT) signs that will mark the designation.
Read more in this morning's Corning Leader, 'Highway dedicated in memory of fallen Dundee solider' and Elmira Star-Gazette, 'Section of Rt. 14A honors fallen soldier.'
In a joint statement, O’Mara and Palmesano said, “Christopher made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of his country. He stood courageously in defense of our freedoms and we’re proud to help remember Christopher’s life and pay tribute to his service. The designation of the ‘Christopher J. Scott Memorial Highway’ is one additional way for the communities of Dundee and Tyrone, the residents of Schuyler and Yates counties, and our state and nation to establish an enduring honor in Christopher’s memory. It’s one more way to express our gratitude and respect for his service.”
Yesterday's ceremony featured the unveiling of the new state DOT signs that will designate the portion of State Route 14A between the town of Reading in Schuyler County and the village of Dundee -- a 9.5 mile stretch of road which begins at the south end of State Route 14A where it branches off from State Route 14 and ends at the northern village limits of Dundee, nearby Hillside Cemetery where Scott is buried. It follows a portion of the route of the procession which brought the soldier to his final resting place in September 2011.
O’Mara and Palmesano sponsored the legislation (S.3725/A.5418) at the request of town officials, community residents and local veterans. The legislation was signed into law by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on July 3, 2013, to coincide with the following day’s Fourth of July observance. On the same day the governor approved several similar pieces of legislation honoring three other fallen soldiers across New York.
“It is important for us to reflect on the service and sacrifice made by the men and women of the United States Armed Forces to preserve and protect the freedoms we hold so dear," Cuomo said. "These four young men believed firmly in our country’s ideals, and put their lives on the line to defend those principles overseas. This bridge and these newly renamed roads will honor these brave young men, and ensure that their sacrifice is always remembered. I thank the bill sponsors for their efforts, and express my deepest sympathies and gratitude to the families for their loss.”
Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning), who with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is sponsoring legislation to rename the Tyrone Post Office in Scott’s honor, said, “Dedicating a memorial highway to Specialist Christopher Scott is another way for us to remember his bravery and sacrifice. Any way we can honor his legacy in our local community is something we will wholeheartedly support and thanks to Senator O’Mara and Assemblyman Palmesano, we have another way to remember this hero.”
Scott was raised in Dundee, graduated from Dundee High School in 2009 and began service in the Army. He was assigned to units including the 561st Military Police Company, 716th Military Police Battalion and the 101st Sustainment Brigade. While serving in the Army, he earned the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, and the Overseas Service Ribbon. Posthumously, Scott was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct Medal, NATO Medal and the Combat Action Badge.