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Highway named in honor of Monroe Co. marine

10:49 PM, Apr 27, 2012   |    comments
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  • "LCpl. Franklin "Frankie" Namon Watson Memorial Highway" dedicated in Watson's memory
    

A fallen East Tennessee marine will now have part of a highway named in his honor.

Lance Corporal Marine Frankie Watson died in September while on duty in Afghanistan.

Earlier this week, Governor Bill Haslam signed a bill that designates a portion of Highway 411 in Monroe County to be named in memory of Watson.

It includes the stretch of road between Vonore and Madisonville, which will now be called "LCpl. Franklin "Frankie" Namon Watson Memorial Highway."

"That specific part of the road really was close to Frankie," said Representative Jimmy Matlock (R-Lenoir), who co-sponsored the bill.

"He went to school there, he served there... he was law officer in the local police department... and we felt like that was a good way to honor him."

Watson graduated from Sequoyah High School in 2008. He worked as a deputy in the Monroe Co. Sheriff's Department and patrol officer for the Madisonville Police Department.

Madisonville City Alderman Sherri Anderson says Watson's father figure, Lowell Russell, was an important part of the dedication process.

"When [Watson] was killed, I called Lowell Russell... and we discussed naming a street or a road after him in his memory."

Russell, a Tennessee Highway Patrol Sergeant, was critically injured in March, when a semi truck plowed into his parked cruiser on the shoulder of Interstate 40.

Anderson says, officials plan to hold an official highway dedication for the marine when Russell is rehabilitated enough to attend.

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