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Crossing named in youth’s memory

Boy touched many in community

POSTED: June 18, 2014 4:00 a.m.
Michele Hester Dawson Community News/

Mayor James Grogan, state Sen. Steve Gooch, state Rep. Kevin Tanner, Alex Stewart and Stewart’s mother Anna Miles stand near a sign dedicated to the late Kenny Stewart.

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A legion of supporters gathered Thursday to pay tribute to a young man many knew as "Soldier Boy."

On Thursday, Kenny Stewart's name was forever etched into Dawson County's history with the official dedication of the Kenneth Webster Stewart III Memorial Intersection at the crossing of Hwy. 53 and Perimeter Road.

State Rep. Kevin Tanner introduced the legislation to rename the crossing, which was overwhelmingly approved and passed the Georgia Legislature earlier this year.

"All of us here, I think, knew Kenny," Tanner said. "He touched our lives. He was an example of such a fine young man that was a fighter and just was an inspiration even with all the struggles he had personally in his life."

Stewart lost his five-year battle with cancer on March 11, 2013, just three months after his 12th birthday.

During the time he lived in Dawsonville, he became known as "Soldier Boy," which reflected his desire to one day join the military. He also developed an abundance of friends who followed his progress and supported the family as he battled the disease.

Moments before the road signs were unveiled, his mother Anna Miles addressed the group of more than 100 gathered for the dedication.

"To know that a little boy moved and had such an impact on our community really blows me away," she said. "And to call him my son, I consider myself the lucky one.

"He taught me something very valuable and that was not to take life for granted and to live every moment to the fullest."

Representatives with the state Department of Transportation placed signs on each of the four corners approaching the intersection. Three smaller signs were also presented to the family as keepsakes.

Tanner said naming the crossing, which leads to Robinson Elementary that Stewart attended, held significant meaning.

"All the people that turn at this intersection going to that school on a daily basis will remember him and the life and the legacy he left behind and that's why we thought it would be an appropriate location for this sign and for this intersection naming," he said.

With tears in her eyes, Miles looked to the sky and rejoiced in the moment.

"We keep his spirit alive through us by loving others, loving our lives, thanking God for each day that he gives us," she said. "And each time that we stop at this red light ... look up and say thank you God for today. Because every day that Kenneth was here was a day he thanked God for."

 

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