Highway to honor pilot

ALBANY — Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt, R-North Tonawanda and Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes, R-Caledonia have announced legislation has passed the Senate and Assembly to rename a portion of State Highway 64 in the town of Mendon in honor of National Guardsman Christian J. Koch.

Now, having passed both houses, the bill will be delivered to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his approval and signature.

“Chief Warrant Officer Koch gave his life while serving our nation, and we will forever be grateful for his sacrifice,” Ortt said in a news release. “The death of Chief Warrant Officer Koch highlights the dangers that come with service to our nation, both foreign and domestic, and forces us to remember that freedom comes at a tremendous cost. I am proud to have joined with Assemblywoman Byrnes in renaming a portion of State Highway 64 in Christian J. Koch’s honor and hope it serves as a reminder of his commitment to our state and nation.”

“Our entire community was rocked by the tragic death of Christian and his fellow guardsmen,” Byrnes said. “He has given his entire life in service to our community, state and nation. Though he is no longer here with us, we are making sure his memory will live on forever.

“Christian’s friends and family have suffered a great loss. I hope this designation will remind them of how grateful we are for Christian’s service and sacrifice.”

Following the helicopter crash in January that led to the death of Koch and his fellow guardsmen, Ortt and Byrnes worked with Christian’s family and state and local government leaders to honor and keep the men’s memory alive.

The Mendon Town Board and Supervisor John Moffitt, along with the Honeoye Falls Village Board and Mayor Rick Milne, passed Resolutions of Support which accompanied the bill.

If signed into law by the governor, the bill would create the “Chief Warrant Officer 4 Christian J. Koch Memorial Highway.” The portion of the state highway being renamed in Koch’s honor is close to where he lived with his wife and children, and also near the site of the helicopter crash.

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