Highway could honor Young

Published 10:27 am Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Drakes Branch Supervisor Garland H. Hamlett, Jr. has proposed to name Route 47 in Charlotte County The Gordon Young Memorial Highway.

According to Hamlett, “Gordon Young, of Drakes Branch, was the first guy from Charlotte County to be killed in Vietnam.”

The discussion came during the board of supervisors’ July 11 meeting.

He said back in 2000, a monument was dedicated in the Town of Drakes Branch to honor the men from Charlotte County killed during the Vietnam War.

A stone at the memorial pays tribute to seven Charlotte County residents who died in the war including Gordon P. Young, from Drakes Branch, James C. Dickerson, from Randolph, Mac Arthur G. Gee, from Charlotte Court House, Samuel B. Hubbard, from Red House, Wilbert J. Jones Jr., from Keysville, Roy D. Lowe Jr., from Charlotte Court House, and Leroy A. Whitlow, from Charlotte Court House.

Although there were others, Hamlett said Young was the first. He said the battle in which Young lost his life was the first big battle of the war.

“I think over the years, people have not recognized those guys who lost their lives in Vietnam,” said Hamlett, adding about the highway name, “That’s one way to make that, I guess, a perpetual thing.”

Hamlett said he would like the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors to have a resolution forwarded to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) within the next month or so to start the necessary process to make the change.

Phenix/Aspen Supervisor Haywood Hamlet expressed concern about any address changes that might occur along the route, however, Hamlett said no address changes would be necessary since it will just be a memorial highway.

“It’s not going to change the name,” he said, adding there would be a memorial marker placed in Young’s memory.

“I just think it would be a proper thing for this board to acknowledge,” Hamlett said.

According to information from VDOT regarding naming bridges and highways, bridges and highways can be named with action from the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) or the Generally Assembly.

“The local jurisdiction should provide the residency maintenance manager a resolution requesting the action,” according to VDOT. “The resolution must indicate that the local jurisdiction or family requesting the naming will pay all costs for the signs denoting the name.”

County Seat Supervisor and Chairman Gary Walker said the board would get the proper paperwork together to start the process.

“What I’m going to do is contact Sen. Frank Ruff,” said County Administrator R.B. Clark. He said the process will likely go through Virginia General Assembly.