COLUMBUS – State Rep. Bill Roemer (R-Richfield) announces Sub. House Bill 291, that includes several road-naming bills, passed within the Ohio House. The bill includes Roemer’s House Bill 263 to designate a mile-long portion of County Road 321 in Stark County as “Army Sgt. Vernon R. Judd Memorial Highway.”
“The men and women who voluntarily sacrifice their lives and the comforts of freedom on American soil deserve to be recognized and remembered for their heroism,” said Roemer. “Sgt. Judd is among many fine Ohioans who made such sacrifices, enduring the worst of conditions in defense of freedom across the world. I hope that because of the passage of this legislation, this community will never forget Sgt. Judd’s selfless courage to heed the call of duty, and that his legacy will be preserved and honored for generations to come.”
Vernon Judd enlisted in the United States Army in 1948 and after completing basic training at Fort Jackson in South Carolina, Sgt. Judd was deployed to Korea and later Japan. He then returned to Korea after the beginning of the Korean War in the summer of 1950 and was assigned to Company D, 89th Medium Tank Battalion, 25th Infantry Division.
On November 28th, 1950, Sgt. Judd was captured near Ipsok, North Korea, and was imprisoned in the Hofong Prisoner of War Camp. While imprisoned, he suffered horrific conditions during a bitterly cold winter, and died on February 15, 1951. He was only 22 years old.
For 67 years, the Judd family never had the chance to recover his remains. It was not until July 27, 2018, after a summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un of North Korea, that the remains of 55 American service members killed during the Korean War were returned to the United States. Sgt. Judd was among them, and on September 24, 2019, he was finally laid to rest with full military honors at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery.
Sgt. Judd was awarded numerous honors, including the Purple Heart, the Prisoner of War Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Army of Occupation Medal with a Japan clasp, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal with 3 bronze service stars, the United Nations Service Medal, and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.
Sgt. Judd was one of ten children in his family who were raised in the small community of Elton in Stark County. His niece, Jennifer Judd, commended the effort.
“Our family is absolutely thrilled this is moving forward,” she said. “It would be such an honor to him and our family for the state to commemorate his sacrifice in this way. His name and his story deserve to be remembered.”
Sub. House Bill 291 now heads to the Senate for further consideration.