HARROD — The family of Army Cpl. Nathan Carse, an Allen East alumnus who was killed in 2011 in Afghanistan, received an unexpected — and unannounced — gift last week.
The Ohio Department of Transportation installed signs on state Route 309 between South Phillips Road and Peevee Road dedicating that 1.5-mile portion of road the Cpl. Nathan B. Carse Memorial Highway, the fulfillment of his mother, Janis Carse’s, wishes.
“My mom has always wanted to have a section of 309 dedicated for a memorial highway,” Carse’s sister, Kristin Purdy, said. “So she emailed [state] Sen. [Keith] Faber and gave him all of the information, and he was really on board.”
Carse and Faber began the process in August, with the measure quickly approved by the state legislature. However, as steps were taken to make this memorial a reality, one thing was missed.
“ODOT was supposed to let Sen. Faber’s office know so they could do an official dedication, but ODOT never let them know,” Purdy said. “So they just put them up.”
Carse, who lives on Phillips Road, was genuinely surprised when she saw the sign for the first time.
“I was driving home and saw it,” she said. “I had to turn around and see it again just to make sure.”
Once the family notified Faber that the signs were up, he quickly apologized for the lack of a ceremony, informing Carse that a belated ceremony will take place either in May or June. For the family, however, the important thing is that their loved one is being honored.
“It’s great,” Purdy said. “Anything that we can do in remembrance of Nathan, we welcome it wholeheartedly because he was just such an amazing guy.”
Carse graduated from Allen East High School in 1997 and received engineering degrees from Capital University and Louisiana State University. Rather than work in a civilian role, however, he decided to maintain the family tradition of serving in the U.S. military.
“His dad was a Vietman vet, and both of his grandfathers were in the service,” Carse said. “He always had a love for the military.”
While the signs honoring her son are a welcome sight for Carse, they are also bittersweet.
“It’s great to see he’s being honored,” she said, “but they are also reminders that he’s not with us anymore.”