By Fort Sill Tribune staffNovember 18, 2019
FORT SILL, Oklahoma (Nov. 18, 2019) -- A segment of Oklahoma State Highway 277 near the Fort Sill National Cemetery was dedicated Nov. 15, as a Gold Star Families Memorial Highway. A ceremony was conducted at the Lawton-Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce with many Gold Star families and state officials present as a replica roadway sign was unveiled.
Gold Star mother and retired Sgt. 1st Class Vicky Flores of Lawton said she approached Brenda Spencer-Ragland, Lawton-Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, a little over a year ago with the idea of the memorial highway.
"She (Spencer-Ragland) was the one who actually got the ball rolling with all the people she knew," said Flores, whose son Cpl. Wilfred Flores Jr. died March 31, 2007, in Baghdad. "I thank the Lord, and I thank the community that it has finally happened."
Rep. Toni Hasenbeck, District 65, authored the bill for the highway.
"Everyone can remember today and every time that we drive on that stretch of Highway 277 that our state and our country made a pledge that we will never, ever forget," she said.
Gold Star family member Erin Killingsworth, of Berryville, Arkansas, made the trip to Lawton with her daughters Kayla and Kai. Her mother, Jane Landrum and sister, Melissa, both of Lawton also attended.
Erin's younger brother 1st Lt. Brandon Landrum was a Fort Sill Soldier, who was killed in an IED attack in 2013.
This dedication shows that people are doing things to remember fallen service members and their families, Killingsworth said. That means so much.
Sen. John Michael Montgomery, who represents most of northwest Comanche County, helped get the bill passed.
"It's important to remember why we have our freedoms … they came about because of the sacrifices of many and their families," he said. "When people drive by, I hope they take a moment to consider that sacrifice."
Theresa Surface, the older sister of Cpl. Flores, said her brother would have been so proud of the highway dedication. It's really nice that Oklahoma is doing something like this for Gold Star families, she said.