December 20, 2014

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Stretch of Route 58 to be named for slain soldier

Torres

Torres

State Route 58 is a fitting location for honoring slain Army Sgt. Louis Torres, his mother said Tuesday.

The 23-year-old Torres, killed in a 2012 bombing in Kandahar, Afghanistan, was born in Lorain but grew up in Oberlin. His father’s side of the family lives in Lorain, while his mother’s side is in Oberlin.

“It connects both the cities,” his mother, Amanda Ellis, said after Gov. John Kasich signed a bill into law naming a portion of Route 58 the Sgt. Louis Torres Highway. “Both of the families and a lot of his friends will be able to see that on a regular basis.”

Ellis said the dedication is expected in July. Ellis said she is grateful to state Sen. Gayle Manning, R-North Ridgeville, who co-sponsored the bill. Manning said in a news release when the bill was passed in the state Senate that she hoped people who see the sign honoring Torres will remember “the selfless Americans who serve and have served on our behalf.”

Ellis, 44, said it’s been difficult coping with her son’s death. While extremely proud of her son’s service, she said she hadn’t wanted him to join the Army. Torres, who had served a tour in the Iraq War, was just 30 days away from his Afghanistan tour ending when he was killed.

Ellis said she has continued to follow the Afghanistan War since her son’s death. Through Monday, 2,176 American soldiers have died in the war, according to the Department of Defense and thousands of Afghans have died.

About 38,000 U.S. soldiers remained in Afghanistan through January, CBS News reported. President Barack Obama sought to keep some 10,000 in Afghanistan after 2014 until a deal with Afghan President Hamad Karzai collapsed in February, partially due to Karzai’s refusal to allow U.S. soldiers legal immunity from Afghan courts.

While Obama wanted to keep some Americans behind to maintain security, Ellis said she’s supports a full withdrawal. Ellis said U.S. soldiers have served honorably, but she wished there’d been a full withdrawal after 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, who the Taliban refused to turn over to the U.S. in 2001, was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs in Pakistan in 2011.

“I wish it would’ve been before something happened to my son,” Ellis said. “Since we’ve been over there, the more it’s making it (terrorism) grow. We’re getting more fanatics now than when we started and, of course, we can’t keep financing that country.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.