Michigan House Republicans
Kunse introduces plan to rename highway after fallen veteran
RELEASE|April 10, 2024
Contact: Tom Kunse

State Rep. Tom Kunse is spearheading an effort to rename a portion of US 131 near Big Rapids after Sergeant Matthew Webber, an army veteran. Webber passed away in 2006 after an accident in Iraq.

After the accident, Webber survived 5 and a half months in a U.S. Hospital, where staff began calling him “Miracle Matt” because of how long he was able to keep fighting despite injuries.

“Sgt. Webber is a true American hero who sacrificed everything for our country,” said Kunse, R-Clare. “I’m honored to play a small part in ensuring Matthew’s service will be remembered for generations.”

Webber, who was from Stanwood, enlisted in the Army National Guard during his junior year of high school. He rose to the rank of Sergeant and assumed the role of squad leader. He signed up for the United States Army in 2000 and served until he passed in 2006. His service was recognized with the Purple Heart and Bronze Star awards. He also was posthumously awarded a degree from Western Michigan University.

“Once we heard Matthew’s story, we did our best to step up and honor his legacy,” Kunse said. “My staff used their own time to help Matthew’s family raise the $6,000 it would’ve cost them to purchase and install the signage should my bill be signed into law. I’m proud to have a staff willing to go above and beyond on behalf of our community.”

When the Stanwood community learned of the effort to have the Muskegon River overpass on U.S. 131 named after him, they rallied together to raise all that was needed for Webber’s sign.

While the Legislature must approve a highway naming, the cost of purchasing and installing the signage usually falls back on the family of the person being recognized.


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