Roadway Honors Fallen Hero

September 22, 2010

On Saturday, September 18th the Sergeant Felix M. Del Greco, Jr. Highway was unveiled at a ribbon cutting ceremony held in Simsbury. Family and friends along with members of Boy Scout Troop 76 gathered at the corner of Sugar Loaf Cut and Route 309 to officially open the newly named roadway which runs from that location (on Rt. 309) to the junction of Route 167. With the Governor’s Foot Guard on hand to present the nation’s colors, a sign with his name was uncovered that will forever memorialize his service to our community and our nation.

Dedicating a roadway like this is not unique in Connecticut. In fact, hundreds of highways, bridges and local roads bearing the names of individuals can be seen throughout our state. Most times they are dedicated to people we have never heard of. Maybe they were a fallen police officer or, like Sgt. Del Greco, a fallen soldier. Whatever the case may be, we might not give much thought to the person – whose name adorns the sign as we travel from one place to another – or the reason they are being honored in such a manner. That is why I dedicate this article to Felix so that you know the reason why this road was dedicated.

In 2009, I proposed legislation that was adopted that names a portion of Rt. 309 in Simsbury after Del Greco. Army Sergeant Felix M. Del Greco, Jr. was 22 years old when he was killed in Iraq on April 9, 2004. A Simsbury resident, he was the first member of the Connecticut National Guard to perish in Iraq when an improvised explosive device (IED) struck a vehicle while on patrol in Baghdad. He was stationed in Iraq only 36 hours at the time of the blast.

A graduate of Simsbury High School, Del Greco was an Eagle Scout known for his outgoing personality. He enlisted in the National Guard while still in high school, and in 2001 earned the distinction of “Soldier of the Rotation” amongst 10,000 multi-national forces while serving in Bosnia. In April of 2003, he volunteered in support of Operation Noble Eagle III and was stationed at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He was called a “soldier’s soldier” because of his dedication to duty.

In December, 2003, Del Greco returned to Connecticut and immediately volunteered for service in Operation Iraqi Freedom II. At the time of his death he was a member of C Company, of the 102nd Infantry in Bristol. He was a Commandments List graduate of the Army’s Primary Leadership Development. Among his awards are the following:

  • Bronze Star
  • Purple Heart
  • Army Commendation
  • Army Achievement Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster
  • Army Good Conduct Medal
  • Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
  • Global war on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
  • Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” Device
  • Army Service Ribbon
  • NATO Medal
  • Combat Infantry Badge

While it has been over six years since his death, the memory of Felix Del Greco will live on. This section of road will remind us all of the sacrifice he made so that we can go about our everyday lives without threat. At the ceremony, local clergy blessed the road so that those who pass have a safe journey. I believe those traveling will be protected by a guardian angel named Felix Del Greco.