DESERT STORM VETERAN GENE NUMERICK is shown on Memorial Day in Owosso removing the covering on one of two new signs designating a portion of S. M-52 between Owosso and Perry in honor of Desert Storm veterans. Numerick was assisted by a number of veterans and family members.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
A dedication ceremony unveiling part of S. M-52 between Owosso and Perry as the Michigan Desert Storm Veterans Memorial Highway was held on Monday, May 30 with a number of dignitaries on hand including State Rep. Ben Frederick (R-Owosso), Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) and also several candidates running for office in 2022. The ceremony took place in Owosso, just south of the Baker College Auto Diesel Institute.
The highway project started with Desert Storm veteran Gene Numerick who had initially contacted Frederick with the idea roughly four years ago. Frederick then sponsored legislation recognizing Gulf War veterans and designating a portion of S. M-52 to commemorate their efforts.
Numerick, serving in Riyadh during Desert Storm shared, “Fortunately, I wasn’t involved in any combat myself, but it was still scary moments. I am proud to have served. Desert Storm is often times overlooked by a lot of the media, but I wanted to bring a better focus for those that have served.”
“Today is a special day, also being Memorial Day, where we can honor our military that have fallen in battle,” Numerick added. “A lot of times, you know, when you are going through the course of your life, you want to try to remember those that have fought for your freedom and this is one way that we can.” Numerick offered his gratitude to everyone in attendance including his brother-in-law, also a Desert Storm veteran.
State Rep. Ben Frederick shared that the renamed highway is actually a first for the state and offered that it is known that veterans of the “Persian Gulf region are aging faster,” likely due to exposure to chemicals and other factors during their time of service. Frederick highlighted the sacrifices made by Desert Storm veterans, mentioning two MIA veterans still lost in the Gulf War region. “We must remain vigilant until they are returned home,” he stated.
The bill sponsoring the highway designation was signed into law in Sept. 2020.