Wheaton street renamed to honor soldier killed in Afghanistan

WHEATON, Ill. (WLS) -- The city of Wheaton honored one of its own on Friday, a soldier who gave his life serving the country.

A street in Wheaton was renamed in memory of Army Specialist Samuel Watts. The Wheaton North High School graduate was killed in Afghanistan in 2012.

"For many families of fallen heroes, one of the greatest fears is that their loved one who sacrificed their lives for others will be forgotten," said Susan Watts, Samuel's mother. "Today we are reminded that Sam will not be forgotten."

Now, the intersection of Karlskoga Avenue and Hale Street at the entrance to Memorial Park is a place honoring Specialist Samuel Watts.

"He spent many hours riding his bike on these streets, this spot is absolutely perfect," said Susan Watts.

Last year, the city of Wheaton started an honorary street sign program to honor two people a year who have died making significant contributions to society.

Specialist Watts is the first to be honored this year.

"You go through day by day and it hurts and you just think you're all by yourself in your home and then all of a sudden everybody's out here, you're reminded it's not just us that hurt," said Thomas Watts, Samuel's father.

Specialist Watts died in 2012 after he was wounded in patrol in Afghanistan. It's been five years since his family and a community lost a hero. But the city of Wheaton said this dedication will stand as a lifelong reminder of Samuel and the freedom he served to protect.

"Thank you so much for this day and this wonderful tribute to our Sam," said Susan Watts. "We are humbled and very, very grateful.
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