BETHALTO — Local and state officials recently worked to ensure a fallen Bethalto soldier won’t soon be forgotten.
On May 4, state Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton) adopted a resolution renaming a stretch of Illinois 140 in Bethalto in honor of U.S. Marines Lance Cpl. Kenneth Corzine, who died in December 2010 as a result of injuries sustained while serving in Afghanistan. The part of the highway, from North Bellwood Drive to Prairie Street, was designated as LCpl. Kenneth Corzine Memorial Drive.
“This young man gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country,” Haine said on the Illinois Senate floor in May. “He would have been 29 today, and it is an honor to pay tribute to him in this way. Our fallen soldiers deserve our utmost respect, gratitude and appreciation. I hope that by dedicating this portion of highway to this fallen soldier, it will serve as a reminder to all who drive on it what a patriot he was and the service he gave to our country.”
The designation, which was also recognized at a recent Bethalto village board meeting, came with mixed emotions for Corzine’s family. His uncle, James Corzine, who wrote the resolution eventually adopted by the Senate, said the family was “honored” by the gesture.
“We hope that when people see the sign they’ll remember that freedom is not free. We hope people, when they see this memorial sign, will remember all who have fallen for support of our freedom,” James Corzine said, thanking Haine and Bethalto Mayor Alan Winslow, among others, for working to make the designation a reality.
Kenneth Corzine enlisted in the Marine Corps on Aug. 1, 2007. He served as a rifleman with the 1st Squad, 3rd Platoon, Company L in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was awarded with a Purple Heart as well as the Combat Action Ribbon.
He was injured during battle on Dec. 5, 2010, losing both his legs in an improvised explosive device attack. He died on Dec. 24, 2010, as a result of his injuries.
A ceremony for the unveiling of the sign dedicating the stretch of highway to Corzine is still in the works.