Fallen Marine Honored by Heroes Way

A two-year effort to memorialize fallen St. Louis, Missouri soldier will come to fruition Saturday, April 13, 2013 with the dedication of a highway marker honoring Lance Cpl. Matthew Clark. Community and family members will gather to honor Lance Cpl Clark who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms. At the ceremony, Heroes Way Interstate Interchange signs will be unveiled and dedicated for Clark who was killed in action while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Saturday's event is open to the public and will take place 1:00 pm at the Missouri Department of Transportation facility, 1590 Woodlake Drive, Chesterfield, Missouri.

A two-year effort to memorialize fallen St. Louis, Missouri soldier will come to fruition Saturday, April 13, 2013 with the dedication of a highway marker honoring Lance Cpl. Matthew Clark. Community and family members will gather to honor Lance Cpl Clark who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms. At the ceremony, Heroes Way Interstate Interchange signs will be unveiled and dedicated for Clark who was killed in action while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Saturday's event is open to the public and will take place 1:00 pm at the Missouri Department of Transportation facility, 1590 Woodlake Drive, Chesterfield, Missouri.

In July 2009, the State of Missouri passed the Heroes Way Bill, formally known as the “Heroes Way Interstate Interchange Designation Program,” which allows relatives of Missourians who died in combat during these two wars to ask that an interstate interchange or a section of a state highway be named in the soldier’s honor.

There are elaborate memorials in our nation and state capitols for the many wars that America's heroes have fought in, but friends and family of the fallen don't always get the opportunity to visit. The goal is to create a way to honor these individuals at home, in their local communities where they served as husbands and fathers, wives and mothers, neighbors and friends. Heroes Way was established to honor the sacrifice at the local level, serving as a daily reminder of those that paid the ultimate price for our freedom. 

Lance Cpl. Matt Clark was a graduate of Ladue High School in 2002 and attended University of Missouri at St. Louis. He had been in Iraq for about three months and had already served a tour of duty in Afghanistan. He followed his father into the Marine Corps. 

Matt he was always conservative and very religious. He was an intelligent young man, who loved to hang out at coffee shops and drive around in his car. Some were surprised when he decided to join the Marines after a few years at the University of Missouri at St. Louis. However his father had been a Marine as well. 
Lee Hundelt, Clark’s mother called the ceremony a fitting tribute to not only LCpl Clark but their family members, other military personnel and members of the community. In addition to the unveiling of the memorial signs, the ceremony included posting of colors, musical tributes and speeches by elected officials and military personnel. 
“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation." ~ George Washington
Families who wish to honor a fallen soldier complete and submit an application to the Missouri Department of Transportation detailing the name and service of the soldier as well as requesting the location of the sign. Two signs are placed at the interchange which remains the property of the Missouri Department of Transportation. 
Lee Clark Hundelt submitted her son’s name to the Missouri Department of Transportation for this recognition. In order to be eligible for recognition, an individual must have been killed in action during active military duty in Afghanistan or Iraq on or after September 11, 2001, and must have sponsorship from at least one member of the General Assembly. The location of Matthew's sign is exit 13 at Ladue Rd. and HWY 270.
The cost of the two designation signs is $2,200 and organizers have started Heroes Way Inc; a nonprofit to raise money for other qualifying military members in the state who have made the ultimate sacrifice. To date, organizers and fundraisers have raised over $13,000 for Heroes Way statewide. For more information on Heroes Way Inc. and how to donate, contact Ross Gartman at g.man1212@hotmail.com

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