BOSTON, MA -- This Saturday, Massachusetts will dedicate its Medal of Honor Highway, completing the 12-state Highway 20 designation honoring the more than 3,500 congressional Medal of Honor recipients.
“It is a great feeling to set a goal a long time ago and stick with it. Working with people I never knew in all those states. I had to convince them to do it,” says Dick Tobiason, chairman of the Bend Heroes Foundation. He started the project in 2017, hoping to erect signs on the U.S. Highway that stretches from Newport, OR to Boston, MA. “I wrote the legislation for each state and then I had to find a champion to get it through the legislature and get the governor to sign it. So that's why it took five years because there's 12 different states and each have a different way of doing business. It's just a case of just showing up every day and getting the job done.” He’s also pushing for a national designation for the Highway. “People love veterans. Look at how quickly on the day that Senator Wyden introduced the bill on May 9th, Senator Merkley and then Representative Laurie Chavez Deremer and Representative Cliff Benz all signed on,” Tobiason says, adding it could take some time to get that bill through Congress but it’s worth the effort.
During Saturday’s ceremony at Kenmore Square in Boston, Tobiason will specifically think of Bob Maxwell, a Medal of Honor recipient from Bend who passed away in 2019, “He died knowing that I would keep my promise to him to designate all 12 states.”
The dedication ceremony will include state and national leaders, along with many veterans groups. Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Navy Captain Thomas G. Kelley will represent the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and all 65 living Medal of Honor recipients.