CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY – Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I – Olean) announced that State Route 20 in the Village of Fredonia will be renamed the “Sergeant Jonathan Gollnitz Memorial Highway.”
Senator Young sponsored legislation in the state Senate and Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, (R,C.I – Jamestown) sponsored legislation in the state Assembly renaming the highway in Sergeant Gollnitz’ honor. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo just signed the legislation.
A native of Fredonia, Sergeant Gollnitz, 28, was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.
He was killed on September 26, 2012, while on a combat operation in Pul-e-Alam, about 60 miles south of Kabul in Logar Province, Afghanistan, due to injuries caused by a suicide bomber.
Before going to Afghanistan, Sergeant Gollnitz had served in Iraq. He also served five years in the U.S. Navy prior to joining the U.S. Army. According to family and friends, he said he joined the Army following his Navy service, “to be closer to the action.”
“Sergeant Gollnitz is a true American hero. He selflessly stepped forward to serve his country, knowing that it could cost him his life,” Senator Young said. “He grew up travelling this road. It is appropriate that we remember him by renaming it in his honor. This roadway will stand as a testament to Sergeant Gollnitz’ patriotism, and serve as a reminder to everyone who travels on it, what the true cost of our freedom is.”
Senator Young introduced the legislation to rename the roadway after the Chautauqua County Legislature adopted a resolution requesting that the road be named in Sergeant Gollnitz’ honor.
“Chautauqua County has a long and proud history of its sons and daughters serving in our armed forces,” Senator Young said. “Like so many brave members of our U.S. military before him, Sergeant Gollnitz was willing to place himself in harm’s way to defend our great nation. He was willing to fight and die to protect the freedoms we hold so dear. His bravery and valor stand as examples for all of us to live by.”
Assemblyman Goodell said it is fitting that a piece of his hometown will carry Sergeant Gollnitz’ name forever.
“Army Sergeant Gollnitz, a native of Fredonia, made the ultimate sacrifice to our country when lost his life during a roadside bombing in Afghanistan in 2012. With the unanimous support of County Executive George Borrello and the Chautauqua County Legislature, Senator Young and I sponsored this bill to remember and honor this brave American. It is so important to keep this hero in our hearts and minds,” Assemblyman Goodell said.
Sergeant Gollnitz was a 2002 graduate of Southern Tier Levant Christian High School in Falconer. He served in the U.S. Navy from 2006 to 2011, and joined the Army in 2011. At the time of his death, he was as 19D20 Calvary Scout, serving at the front lines of combat operations.
“We owe our freedom to the courage and sacrifice of countless brave members of our military like Sergeant Gollnitz,” Senator Young said. “They died for us and it is up to us to remember them with reverence, and pray that the day will come when such great sacrifice is no longer required.”