Another salute to a fallen local hero

A one-mile stretch of Ohio 676 has been dedicated to the memory of U.S. Army Specialist Allen Nolan, a Marietta resident who died while serving in Iraq with the Ohio National Guard in 2004.

The tragedy happened more than nine years ago, so many of us may not be familiar with his story.

Nolan, 38, served in the Guard’s 660th transport unit.

He died Sept. 30, 2004, 12 days after an attack on his convoy in Iraq. He left a wife and five children.

He is the first Washington County resident to lose his life during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

For some reason, the process to getting the road dedication has been long and frustrating for Nolan’s family. His uncle, Marietta resident Junior Nolan, has been trying to get the designation for Allen Nolan for more than 2 years. Apparently the request got mixed with some other Statehouse legislation, slowing the process for approval.

The good news is the approval finally came. State Rep. Andy Thompson, of Marietta, was on hand for Friday’s dedication.

The bad news is that while Nolan was the first local fatality, he hasn’t been the last. Army 1st Lt. Chris Rutherford of Newport died in action in 2007. And Marine Lance Cpl. Josh Taylor, a 2010 graduate of Marietta High School died in a mortar shell explosion during a training exercise in Nevada.

While dedicating part of Oho 676 in Nolan’s name, or part of Ohio 7 in Rutherford’s honor are respectful actions, we always hope there won’t be a need to repeat the process in the future.