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Alcoa leaders take step to name bridge in honor of service member who died in 2008

Sgt. Michael H. Ferschke Jr. died in 2008 while serving in Iraq. He was 23 years old, graduating from Maryville High School in 2003.

ALCOA, Tenn. — Alcoa leaders took a step towards renaming a bridge near McGhee Tyson Airport after a service member who was killed in action on August 10, 2008, while serving in Iraq.

On July 12, they proposed a resolution to name the bridge on Hunt Road after Sgt. Michael H. Ferschke Jr. The bridge passes over U.S. Highway 129.

His wife was pregnant with their first child when he died. The family was later forced to leave the U.S. due to issues with their visa. According to reports, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to grant permanent residency status to his widow. Then-President Barack Obama signed the bill into law, according to reports, giving her permission to live in the U.S.

The Alcoa resolution would name the bridge  "Michael H. Ferschke Jr. Memorial Bridge." A copy of the resolution would also be sent to the Blount County Legislative Delegation in the Tennessee General Assembly, as a show of support to state lawmakers.

The resolution passed the Alcoa Board of Commissioners. The Blount County Veterans Affairs Committee, the United Veterans of Blount County, Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell, Maryville Mayor Andy White and Alcoa Mayor Clint Abbott also recommended the bridge be named after him.

Sgt. Michael H. Ferschke Jr. is survived by his wife, Hotaru Ferschke, and he was buried in Knoxville at the Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery.

It needs to be approved by state lawmakers before the bridge can be officially named.   

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