COLUMBUS – Staff Sergeant Paul Mardis Jr. was a decorated veteran who served America
with distinction and lost his life so that others could be free.

In moving testimony this morning before an Ohio House committee, Mardis’ grandfather, John
Lawrence, and Rep. Larry Householder shared the story of Mardis’ service. They were testifying
in support of Householder’s bill to designate a portion of State Route 16 in Coshocton County as
the “Staff Sergeant Paul C. Mardis Jr. Memorial Highway.”

Lawrence said Paul grew up in Coshocton and married his high school sweetheart. Mardis joined
the Army on Sept. 2, 1998 and became a Green Beret in 2001.

Mardis earned numerous awards, including two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars, one of
which had a “V” for valor, and was highly respected by his comrades and known as an
“organizational fanatic.”

Mardis rode in the most exposed position of a Humvee, an all-terrain military vehicle. On May
19, 2004, the Humvee in which he was riding outside of Mosul, Iraq, hit an improvised explosive
device or IED, seriously injuring Mardis. He died two months later, the result of injuries
sustained in the explosion. He was 25 years old.

“Paul lost his life doing what he loved with people he loved during operation Iraqi Freedom,”
Lawrence said.

Householder said there wasn’t a single legislator on the committee who wasn’t moved by
Mardis’ story.

“We spend a lot of time reviewing legislation and listening to testimony, but I’ll certainly never
forget Mr. Lawrence’s testimony and Paul’s service to our country,” said Householder (R-Glenford).

The House Transportation and Public Safety Committee unanimously approved the legislation,
House Bill 212. The portion of State Route 16 in Coshocton County that would be named for
Mardis would be the portion between Coshocton and Township Road 279.

It now moves to the full House for consideration.

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