The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 17, 2013

Donations sought to honor fallen soldier

Star Beacon

NORTH KINGSVILLE —  A donation campaign may be launched soon to raise money for signs dedicating a stretch of Route 20 in North Kingsville to the memory of a soldier killed in Iraq more than two years ago.

Mayor Terry McConnell, at Wednesday night’s village council meeting, said it would take little effort to name the highway in honor of First Lt. Michael L. Runyan, who died in July 2010.

Last fall, American Legion Neal Post 743 contacted village leaders about a highway tribute. At the time, officials said they would check with the Ohio Department of Transportation on memorial requirements. It’s surprisingly easy to name a highway, McConnell said; all ODOT requires is a resolution from council, McConnell said.

“We’re not actually renaming the highway, just adding to it,” he said. “It’s still going to be Route 20.”

Cost of the signs and their installation, however, would have to be borne by North Kingsville or another source, McConnell said. A campaign is being considered to raise the money, he said.

Runyan, 24, died when a roadside bomb exploded near Muqdadiyah. He had been deployed to Iraq for three weeks. Runyan is a native of Ashland and his parents, Jeff and Renee Runyan, are Ashtabula County natives.