Honoring a Hero: Senator George Borrello and Assemblyman Stephen Hawley Dedicate “SP4 George Harold Fry Memorial Highway

Photo of elected officials and family members in front of highway sign
Family members and community leaders join legislators to unveil memorial sign on
Route 63 in Pavilion

PAVILION – Senator George Borrello and Assemblyman Stephen Hawley joined family members of SP4 George Harold Fry to formally dedicate a portion of New York State Route 63 in the Town of Pavilion as the “SP4 George Harold Fry Memorial Highway.” 

The event was the culmination of legislative efforts at both the state and local levels to designate the highway in honor of the Pavilion native who lost his life while serving in the Army during the Vietnam War. Specialist Fry was killed in action on July 11, 1969, along with 20 other members of the 506th Infantry during combat on Hill 996 in the Shau Valley of Vietnam. Legislation marking the designation was sponsored by Senator Borrello and Assemblyman Stephen Hawley and signed into by Governor Hochul on November 10, 2023. 

“For generations, many of our region’s finest and bravest young men and women have left home and family to serve in our military and safeguard the liberties we cherish. Their duties often require them to travel to the other side of the world and to endure tremendous hardships and sacrifices we cannot imagine. Their courageous service allows us to live our busy lives, secure in the knowledge that they are protecting us,” Senator George Borrello said.

“Specialist Fry was one of these hometown heroes and, sadly, one who made the ultimate sacrifice for us. Memorializing this roadway in his name will serve as a tribute to him and a reminder to all who pass here that our freedoms are a gift that many have given their lives defending,” said Sen. Borrello.

 “Specialist Fry exemplified what it means to serve your country honorably,” said Assemblyman Hawley. “We owe an immense amount of gratitude to him, and all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy today. Dedicating this highway in his honor is the least we can do to show our appreciation for his service and ensure his sacrifice will never be forgotten.”

Senator Borrello and Assemblyman Hawley noted that Specialist Fry’s actions that day are credited with saving the lives of many other members of his unit.  

Specialist Fry served with D Company, 1st Battalion, 506th infantry, 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army. As an RTO (Radio-Telephone Operator), it was his duty to maintain radio contact between his unit, other platoons and Battalion Command. After two fellow RTO’s were killed early in the assault on July 11, Specialist Fry left the safety of cover to re-establish communication between platoons during the battle, placing himself in jeopardy.  

Specialist Fry’s actions enabled his commanding officer to call in artillery support, coordinate the U.S. counter assault and evacuate the wounded. Continuously under fire, Specialist Fry kept transmitting until he too was shot and killed. His company suffered more than 50 percent casualties. Survivors said were it not for Specialist Fry, many more U.S. troops would have been killed or wounded.   

For his heroism on July 11, he was posthumously awarded the Silver Star. He also received the Bronze Star Medal for outstanding meritorious service in connection with ground operations against a hostile force during the period of October 22, 1968, to July 11, 1969.  

“In America, we enjoy many freedoms we often take for granted. That freedom, however, was paid for by the sacrifice of brave servicemen like Specialist Fry. This roadway will always stand as a constant reminder of the patriotism and heroism of one of Western New York’s finest,” said Assemblyman Hawley. 

“For generations, many of our region’s bravest young men and women have found their calling in military service and safeguarding the liberties we cherish,” Sen. Borrello said. “Specialist Fry was one of those patriots. Naming this highway in his honor commemorates his courageous service to our country and reminds us of the immense contributions America’s veterans have made for us all.”