Sgt. Todd Partridge memorial highway dedicated

Published 12:23 am Friday, October 21, 2011

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Camille Patridge consoles her granddaughter Kymberlee Partridge during the dedication ceremony for her father, Sgt. Todd Partridge, Thursday afternoon at Morgantown Baptist Church.

NATCHEZ — More than 100 people gathered at Morgantown Baptist Church Thursday night to honor the legacy of Sgt. Todd Partridge, and dedicate a roadway in his memory.

Partridge, who became interested in enlisting in the U.S. Army after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was killed when a bomb exploded near the vehicle he was driving in Iraq in August 2005.

Since then, the family and county officials have worked toward erecting a permanent memorial, which came to fruition Thursday night with the unveiling of Sgt. Todd Partridge Memorial Parkway.

Southern District Transportation Commissioner Wayne Brown announced that a section of U.S. 84 in Natchez, beginning at VFW Post 9573 and extending southward to the intersection at Natchez Regional Memorial Hospital, will be designated as Sgt. Todd Partridge Memorial Parkway.

Partridge’s widow, Rhonda, said she had trouble finding the words to express how she felt at the ceremony.

“I’m happy for my girls more than anything,” Rhonda said of the couple’s daughters, Kelsee and Kymberlee. “They are making a sacrifice every day without their father, and this is something everyone can remember him by. This is proof he is not forgotten. It’s a huge, huge honor.”

Partridge’s mother, Camille, wept openly in grief and celebration of her son’s life.

“It’s a great honor,” Camille said. “This is something I have looked forward to getting done. It means so much to the family to see this happen.”

Local leaders and state dignitaries addressed the crowd, all paying tribute to Partridge’s legacy.

Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfied said he has known Partridge and his family for a long time.

“When Todd joined the military, I thought, he’s a great guy and he’ll do well,” Mayfield said. “Camille was upset, worried, and I told her — everything will be fine. It was heartbreaking to me when I heard (Partridge was killed).”

Mayfield pledged that the section of highway will be respected.

“I want you to know one thing,” Mayfield said, addressing the family, “My officers and I will patrol that highway with dignity, and know the sacrifice that Todd made.”

State Sen. Tom King said he was honored to be a part of naming the roadway.

“The memories of Todd are vivid, and the tears still come,” King said. “All gave some; some gave all. Todd gave all.”

Darryl Grennell, president of the Adams County Board of Supervisors, said 100 years from now, people will ask, “Who was Todd Partridge?”

“He was a God loving, God fearing man, who loved his family and loved America. He was a man who gave his life for this country,” Grennell said.

Partridge’s brother-in-law Dennis Randall smiled and cried as he shared several anecdotes about Partridge’s life, illustrating his giving nature and willingness to help.

Brown said he hoped each person who sees the sign will know that a great man sacrificed his life for each of us.

Partridge’s awards include the Bronze Star Medal (posthumous), Purple Heart (posthumous), Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal (posthumous), National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.