Drivers on a Missouri interstate will see a permanent reminder of a state trooper who gave his life in the line of duty. Trooper Fred F. Guthrie Jr. was swept away while on flood patrols last year.
"The dedication of this highway - the Fred Guthrie Memorial Highway - is but a humble expression of the gratitude of not only everyone in this room but of an entire state," Missouri Rep. Nick Marshall said.
Dozens of Missouri Highway Patrol troopers and family and friends of the late Guthrie gathered in the Northland Friday to pay tribute to a man who gave the ultimate sacrifice. He, along with his K-9 partner Reed, died while in assignment in the area of Big Lake in Holt County on Aug. 1, 2011. The two were swept away by the swift-moving flood waters of the Missouri River.
"Fred loved his job and what it stood for. He loved helping people and being able to make a difference. He did not expect any recognition, but simply saw it as doing his job," Teresa Guthrie, Fred's wife, said.
"No greater sacrifice can be made than by Trooper Guthrie offering up his own life to serve and protect his community," Marshall said.
Marshall sponsored the legislation to create the new memorial highway. It spans from Interstate 29 between Missouri highway 273 near Tracy, MO, to Missouri Route E near Camden Point, MO, - a stretch of road Guthrie frequently patrolled.
Fred Guthrie's mother told KCTV5 she hopes those passers-by who may not know what happened to her son will see the sign and think "he must have been a super guy, must have been somebody great."
Those who knew Fred Guthrie have no doubt of the type of man he was.
"He was a hero," Marshall said.
"The stretch of highway represents a man that became a hero to that family on Aug. 1, 2011 – a man that I am proud to be able to call my husband and the father of my children," Teresa Guthrie said.
The Guthrie's daughter Amber agrees, saying her dad's memorial highway is an incredible honor, one he deserves.
Fred Guthrie was the 30th member of the Missouri State Highway Patrol to lose his life in the line of duty.
Col. Ron Replogle said there's "never been one tougher" given the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Fred Guthrie.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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