Last May, the Illinois House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution offered by State Representative Chris Bos (R-Lake Zurich) to honor the memory of fallen United States Army Specialist Wesley R. Wells by renaming a portion of Illinois Route 137. Wells, a life-long 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.
When the resolution passed the House in May, Bos said, “SPC Wells felt the call to service after the 9/11 terror attacks. He subsequently joined the United States Army to make a career out of protecting his country. He paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation in 2004 while fighting insurgents in eastern Afghanistan. While designating a portion of Route 137 in his memory is a small act, by comparison, it is the least we can do to honor his sacrifice.”
SPC Wells was born in Libertyville on October 24, 1982, where he was a lifelong resident and attended Libertyville High School. After high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. In April of 2004, he was deployed to Afghanistan to conduct combat operations with the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment. On September 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.
Joan Neal, Wesley Wells’ mother, said, “My family and I offer our sincere and heartfelt appreciation to Representative Bos and Marshall Metcalf of the Illinois Department of Transportation for honoring Wesley’s service to our country.”
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.
To view the video of Rep. Bos presenting the resolution honoring SPC Wells on the House floor, Click Here.