Street named to honor vets during Patriots Day celebration
By JOE GORMAN
Next year when the 13th annual Patriots Day celebration takes place, the venue will be the same but the address will change.
That’s because the name of the street, for years known as Interstate Boulevard, will now be called Patriots Boulevard.
Trustees and Mahoning County commissioners Thursday unveiled a sign announcing the new name, although it will not officially take place until Jan. 1, 2019.
The event, which is in the parking lot of the Quaker Steak and Lube, honors veterans and those who have participated in veterans causes.
Helping out Thursday was the color guard and choir from Austintown Fitch High School, along with skydriver Jim Drummond, a battalion chief with the Youngstown Fire Department.
Organizers and veterans Ken Jakubec and Leo Connelly asked trustees if they would consider renaming the street in honor of veterans, and the trustees said they would. They then asked commissioners for their assistance in getting the street name changed.
David Ditzler, former township trustee and current commissioner, lauded Connelly and Jakubec for their work on veterans issues.
“This is because of all the people in Austintown and Mahoning County and people in the service who gave us our rights,” Ditzler said.
Commissioner Anthony Traficanti said there was no need for discussion when the township asked for the county’s help in renaming the street.
“It was simply a no-brainer,” Traficanti said.
Traficanti said driving into the event the sight of American flags planted on the side of the road was inspiring.
“If that doesn’t touch your heart, I don’t know what would,” Traficanti said.
Also speaking was Trustee Jim Davis, state Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan of Youngstown, D-58th, and commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti.
Trustee Ken Carano, who was master of ceremonies, said the new street name is fitting. He said the definition of a patriot is someone who defends a country as well as individual rights.
“You’re prime examples of what patriotism is,” Carano told the veterans who attended.