State Rep. Dirk Deaton worked with his legislative colleagues in the recently-ended session to ensure the legacy of fallen hero Chris Marion is honored and preserved. Deaton sponsored HB 544 that was later incorporated into SB 258 to create the Army PFC Christopher Lee Marion Memorial Highway. SB 258 was approved by the General Assembly and was signed by Governor Mike Parson on July 6 in Jefferson City.
“Chris Marion made the ultimate sacrifice, and it was my honor to work with my legislative colleagues to name the highway that stretches from his hometown of Pineville to the high school in Anderson that he graduated from in his honor,” said Deaton, R-Noel. “This is a proper and appropriate tribute for Chris Marion and his family.”
SB 258 names the portion of U.S. Business 71 from State Highway 76 West to State Highway EE in McDonald County the “Army PFC Christopher Lee Marion Memorial Highway.” Army PFC Christopher Lee Marion, son of Velma and Walter Wood, and the late Roy Marion, was born Dec. 4, 1985, in Fort Smith, Ark. He departed this life defending this nation on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2006, in Hawijah, Iraq, at the age of 20 years, two months, and 18 days.
Christopher was a lifelong resident of Pineville. He was a 2005 graduate of the McDonald County High School, where he was involved in the ROTC program, and also played the tuba in the high school band. He fulfilled his dream of being a soldier in the United States Army when he enlisted on July 6, 2005, in Kansas City. He completed his basic training at Fort Benning, Ga. Christopher was a Combat Infantryman with the 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Ky.
His parents, Walter and Velma Wood, commented on the creation of the highway.
“We’re very proud that they went ahead and did that for him,” said Walter. “Everyone in McDonald County, especially the school, thought the world of Chris.”
“It’s one of the most awesome things they could have done, because nobody ever forgot Chris,” said Velma.
Walter added, “People still see us and talk about Chris. He was just a good kid all around. I think everybody liked him.”
He said Marion was very polite, respectful, loved to joke and loved the military, even as a child.
“We were proud, but we would have loved to have kept him home. But that was his dream, so we let him go. He believed in the good Lord, totally. He knew if anything happened where he would go,” he said.