MANSFIELD (KFSM) -- Highway 71 in Mansfield was dedicated to Spc. Robert Allan Pierce, better known as Allan, on Wednesday (Sept. 3).
“We thought, ‘it has got to be that highway,’ because he ran up and down it in his big blue truck,” his mother, Lonnetta Cooper, said.
When he was about twelve years old he told his mother he wanted to serve his country.
“I always knew he’d be a soldier. I didn’t have any doubt,” she said.
“He knew what he was doing and knew that he wanted to be there. And we love him for it,” his brother Kyle Dart said.
The Army specialist had been in Afghanistan for only two weeks when he was killed by a suicide bomber on June 3, 2013.
Pierce’s mother gave him a necklace with a cross on it the day he left the United States, and it was returned to her after he died. His wedding ring was returned to the family as well.
“The guys that were there saved that for us because they knew we’d want it. It was just amazing – they were so good,” Cooper said.
Before he left for Afghanistan, his wife Christian became pregnant with his son, who recently had his first birthday.
“He’s just the light of my life,” Cooper said of her grandson, Aaron Allan. “My little granddaughter too -- they’re just great.”
“Every minute -- it counts. All I have left now is memories, and you need to make them count because you don’t know when it’s going to be the last one,” she said.
In a town of about one thousand people, nearly everyone knew Allan -- but his brother said this dedication sends a message to the whole country.
“Every time you see those signs, just understand that there are countless men and women over there who may or may not make it through the next day. And it’s all because they’re doing it for you,” Dart said.
There is one sign on each end of the city limits of Mansfield.
Pierce was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Defense. He was 20 years old when he died.
“It’s something you’ll never forget,” Cooper said.