BELLEVUE, KY (FOX19) - A fallen hero from Northern Kentucky has a memorial highway dedicated in his name.
Russell Madden, 29, of Bellevue, died while serving in Afghanistan last June, when his convoy was hit by a missile.
The Russell Madden Memorial Highway was dedicated at the Callahan Community Center, which is right behind the Bellevue City Building and runs along Memorial Parkway.
It was a stirring ceremony and there was an especially an emotional moment between Senator Katie Stine and Russell Madden's father, Martin Madden. He surprised her with a special honor. They had worked well together as a team and their hard work paid off.
U.S. Army Specialist Russell Madden's name will live on in his hometown community.
They held hands and celebrated. It was the teamwork of a devoted father and local senator, after Martin Madden wrote an emotional letter to Stine. Senator Stine helped push the legislation through.
"I hoped I could do it, because it did require passage through both chambers," Stine said.
That's what it took to name a portion of Memorial Parkway in honor of Specialist Russell Madden.
"He loved our nation and we should remember the good things about Russell, as well as the huge sacrifice that he paid," Stine said.
But Stine got it done and her face lit-up with surprise, when Russell's father Martin Madden, presented her with a gift.
"With your permission," Madden said. "I had this military commemorative challenge coin made, it was presented to each of the members of Russell's platoon."
Madden traveled to Germany to make the delivery in person to his son's entire platoon.
And then Senator Stine teared up as he presented the same coin to her.
"He's a hero and frankly, I think his family are heroes because he's not here on earth with us anymore and they're going to miss him," said Stine. "It leaves a huge hole in that family."
For the Madden family, it was a tremendous honor.
"And knowing that that's my husband's road is a great pleasure," said Michelle Madden, Russell's widow. "Because Parker (one of their sons) can grow-up knowing that his dad is a true hero and he's going to be able to continue that legacy with what his dad has given to all of us here."
"Our son would have been proud that he was the one that took the rocket," said Martin Madden. "And not anybody else."
Martin Madden is so proud of his son, who died June 23, 2010, the victim of a rocket blast in Afghanistan. The back window of the family's truck proudly displays Russell Madden's passions: the U.S. Army, his country, Bellevue football.
"Russell loved Bellevue," Michelle Madden said.
And Russell never forgot where he came from.
"And knowing that we're all stepping-up for Russell," Michelle Madden said. "I think he is smiling down upon us with great pride and joy that he has left his mark on the world."
The Kentucky Department Of Transportation, who worked with the Maddens through this whole journey to get that road designated with Russell's name, will start hanging those signs Wednesday around 9 a.m.