Portion of Route 137 in Libertyville renamed to honor soldier who died in Afghanistan
Last May, the Illinois House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution to honor the memory of fallen United States Army Specialist Wesley R. Wells by renaming a portion of Illinois Route 137.
Wells, a lifelong Libertyville resident, gave his life in 2004 while fighting insurgents in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. The signage along Route 137 to complete the designation was recently erected.
Spc. Wells was born in Libertyville on Oct. 24, 1982, where he attended Libertyville High School. After high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. In April 2004, he was deployed to Afghanistan to conduct combat operations with the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment. On Sept. 20, 2004, Spc. Wells was killed in action in Paktika, Afghanistan.
For his service, Spc. Wells was awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Army Service Ribbons, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
As part of the Heroes Way Designation Program, the resolution originally designated the portion of Illinois Route 137, from Illinois Route 21 to Butterfield Road, in Libertyville to honor Spc. Wells' memory.
After further consultation with the family, the state extended the designation area east to O'Plaine Road, which now includes Ascension Cemetery, where Spc. Wells is laid to rest.
"My family and I offer our sincere and heartfelt appreciation to Rep. Bos and Marshall Metcalf of the Illinois Department of Transportation for honoring Wesley's service to our country," said Joan Neal, Wells' mother.
Numerous family and friends of Spc. Wells still live in the Libertyville area today, and it was their efforts that helped spur this designation in his memory.