Heroes honored with street signs

If you were lucky, you had Memorial Day off work to spend time with family and friends. Whether you did or didn’t, hopefully you took time Monday to remember those men and women who fought and died for our country. Soon, drivers in McCracken County will see two more reminders of the sacrifices families have made.

Both Sergeant Christopher Heflin and Master Sergeant Aaron Torian were Marines and from Paducah. Both died in the line of duty and although their deaths were 10 years apart, they were both honored Monday in from of the McCracken County Court House.

Judge Executive Van Newberry welcomed a crowd and explained the tradition that began several years ago. As a way to honor local men and women who give the ultimate sacrifice, a street sign with their name and service will get hung first in the court house and then along a road their families choose. The signs are issued on the year the brave men and women fall and are replaced every 10 years afterward, which is why Torian and Heflin shared their honor today.

Meleasa Hampton, Heflin’s mother was there to see the sheet come off his sign. She said even though it’s been 10 years, the pain of his loss is still around.

“Part of my heart is gone,” she said. Which is also why she can relate so closely with Nathan Torian, Aaron’s brother who was at the ceremony, too.

“You never actually get over it,” she said. Torian said he can see why.

He said he thinks about his brother every day, but misses him even more on days like Memorial Day.

“You think about everybody, everybody’s family, just probably think about it a little bit more or a little differently than I did yesterday or tomorrow,” he said.

Neither family has made a decision yet about where the signs will hang in a year, but agree it’s a fitting tribute that their heroes names and sacrifices will be seen every day by the people who benefited most.

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