Army Master Sgt. Corey Hood. CONTRIBUTED

West Chester will honor Army parachutist with memorial signs

A couple weeks ago trustees, at the urging of a group of residents, planned to rename all or part of Lakota Drive West in honor of Army Master Sgt. Corey Hood, who died in 2015 during a parachuting demonstration with the Army Golden Knights at the Chicago Air and Water Show.

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Trustees, however, learned the street is actually a county road and thus not theirs to rename. So instead they agreed to place two brown and white memorial highway-type signs honoring Hood, a Lakota West graduates, along that stretch of road.

The trustees knew they could be traveling down a “slippery slope” by changing the name of any road to honor Hood.

“These are obviously emotional issues and once you open the door, other people are going to say, ‘well you did it for them’,” West Chester Trustee Mark Welch said. “We have to be very careful about setting precedent and we also have to be very consistent in the application of everything we do.”

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Interim Township Administrator Larry Fronk said he contacted the county engineer’s office as soon as they figured out the name change might be a problem.

“Renaming a street, it can cause a lot of difficulties for any business or resident that lives along there to change all their addresses,” Fronk said. “The county has placed memorial signage on county roads in the past and they said they would not have any problem with West Chester Twp. placing two signs.”

The township also changed their recognition protocols to add a designation of a memorial roadway, to include memorials for West Chester Twp. residents who died while on active duty in the armed forces or during a heroic act; someone who has made distinctive accomplishments or outstanding contributions that reflect well on the township and that no other memorials or tributes will be placed near such a sign.

When the signs are ready, the township plans to have a ceremony and proclamation at the site.