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The Suburbanite
  • Interstate 77 section dedicated to Green's Matt Kuglics

  • In an emotional program, a section of Interstate 77 in Green was dedicated in memory of Matthew Kuglics on the third  anniversary of his death in Iraq. The ceremony took place at the new Green  Central Administrative Building (CAB) this past Saturday, June 5. Kuglics  was an Air Force Special Agent who was killed during his second tour of duty in Iraq three years ago.

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  • In an emotional program, a section of Interstate 77 in Green was dedicated in memory of Matthew Kuglics on the third  anniversary of his death in Iraq. The ceremony took place at the new Green  Central Administrative Building (CAB) this past Saturday, June 5. Kuglics  was an Air Force Special Agent who was killed during his second tour of duty in Iraq three years ago.
    Green Mayor Dick Norton officiated at the event, which  was attended by Matt's father Les, mother Donna, and sister Emily, along with  relatives, friends, guests and news media. State Representative Steven Dyer  who helped draft legislation for the renaming of the high section was also in attendance.
    The dedication opened with an invocation by family  friend Samantha Kelley who is also on the Green Veteran's Planning  Commission. Members of the Mogadore VFW then posted the colors. Then family  friend Amanda Bortz sang the National Anthem and led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.
    Mayor Norton then talked about Matt's service and  sacrifice. "We are obliged to never forget Matt," he said. "This dedication is  a tangible way to recognize Matt's sacrifice. I know how proud Matt was to  have lived in Green.”
    He invoked memories of the movie "Saving Private  Ryan," specifically the part where Ryan is told to earn what the men who saved  him gave up.
    "We earn the rights others have died for," Norton said. "We will  continue to build a city that Matt would have been proud of!"
    Representative Dyer talked about getting to know Matt through his family.
    "I never met Matt but I feel comfortable talking about him from talking with his family,” said Dyer, adding, “There are too many angels in heaven. I hope that this sign brings some solace  to the family."
    He also talked about the hard work and dedication  Matt's father Les had done to help get the sign dedicated. in addition he also  praised the work of his two legislative assistants who worked to get the bill  authorizing the dedication through the Ohio House.
    "Matt was humble and did not like recognition,” said Les Kuglics, Matt’s dad. “I have waited a long time for this  day. In part it is kind of sad, but in part fulfilling in commemorating his  life."
    "Three years ago we went from being a ‘Blue Star’  family to a ‘Gold Star’ family when Matt died. Freedom is not  free, it comes at a price,” he said, adding in closing, “The next time you see a veteran, say ‘Thank You.’"
    "I thought at first it brings back memories of his death,” said Donna Kuglics, Matt’s mother. “But then I focused on all the good things. Like the days on the  soccer field, cub scouts, boy scouts, being a good big brother, his signature smile. I just ask people to remember all the sacrifices."
    Page 2 of 2 - The family received a blanket commemorating Matt's service and sacrifice from Project Comfort 77. This non profit group gives blankets wounded veterans. Polar express, servicemen's children, for police cruisers for needy children, and a host of other groups.
    As the dedication wound down the sign was  unveiled via the overhead screens showing the signs just south of the Akron  Canton airport exit and north on Massillon Road. Also recognized were the other "Gold Star" families who have also lost sons during the war in the service of  their country.
    After the dedication was over the families,  friends and guests then went for a picnic at Queen of Heaven Church. Matt had attended the church and there is a memorial bench in his  honor on the east entrance to the church.