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Stewart, Byrd to be honored
5AXR EagleKevinTanner
Tanner Byrd

Two well-known Dawson County residents will be honored with the naming of an intersection and a bridge in their memory.

House Rep. Kevin Tanner has drafted two resolutions for the Georgia General Assembly: one to rename the intersection at Highway 53 and Perimeter Road after a 12-year-old boy who stole the hearts of hundreds in Dawson County during his five-year battle with medulloblastoma, a rare form of brain cancer. Affectionally known as soldier boy, Kenneth Webster Stewart III, had one day hoped to serve in the United States Army.

Whereas, his suffering brought together his community with a renewed love and sense of doing the right thing, the resolution reads, and, throughout his journey more than 800 people followed his progress through his Facebook prayer-group page and more than 1,012 people came to pay their respects to his family upon his passing. ...

Stewart died March 11, 2013, but his struggle touched even Gov. Nathan Deal. Stewart was appointed on Jan. 10, 2013, as a Lieutenant Colonel Aide-de-Camp to the governors office in a formal ceremony at Stewarts home. He was presented with a framed certificate.

Kennys life was an example to so many of us and a reminder that we should live life to its fullest, Tanner said.

Baseball was another passion of Stewarts, one he celebrated given the opportunity to serve as bat boy during a baseball game held at Turner Field and benefiting Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta.

The Dawson County community dedicated Rock Creek Park Field #12 by renaming it Kenneth Stewart III Field Soldier Boy.

It is abundantly fitting and proper that the outstanding accomplishments of this remarkable and distinguished Georgian be appropriately recognized by dedicating an intersection in his memory, Tanner wrote in the resolution.

The intersection at Highway 53 and Perimeter Roadwill be named the Kenneth Stewart III Memorial Intersection.

That intersection was chosen, Tanner said, because Kenny was a student at Robinson Elementary, and he has many friends there.

A formal ceremony will be scheduled for early spring to unveil the signage.

A second resolution, unavailable at presstime, will honor longtime Dawson County resident and businessman Marcus Byrd. A bridge over the Etowah River at Highway 53 will be named in his memory. Byrd and his business partner, Don Stephens, were responsible for much of the growth around Ga. 400 and Highway 53. The pair brought the first chain grocery store into Dawson County, and the first major shopping center that currently includes Ingles.

Marcus was also dedicated to the Boy Scouts, and even after his son was grown, he stayed involved for 30-plus years, Tanner said. He helped countless young people really become good, productive young men in our community. Through his leadership, many Boy Scouts did great projects in our community.

Tanners Eagle Scout project was one of them.

Back in the mid-80s, there were no street signs in Dawsonville, Tanner said, explaining the Eagle project. If you werent from here, you had no idea where you were.

Tanner researched the citys streets to determine their correct legal names and how many there were. Next, he estimated the cost of signage and posts and raised money from local businesses to cover expenses.

Under Marcuss leadership, we got a group of boys together and installed the signs, Tanner said. He encouraged me to stay involved in the community, and it kept me out of trouble. Some of the the leadership abilities I hope I have came from Marcus. I try to emulate people like him.

Deborah Tellfry, Byrds daughter, said she feels honored.

Kevin is a very special young man, and we feel very blessed that he thought to remember Daddy, she said. Daddy loved this county and its people. If Daddy could come back right now and see how everything has grown, hed be grinning from ear to ear. His dreams are being fulfilled.

A second ceremony to unveil signage for the Marcus Byrd Memorial Bridge will be scheduled in early spring, Tanner said.The public will be invited.

The two resolutions will be read on the House floor and assigned to the transportation committee. Once approved, they will be packaged together with other projects and passed as one bill, which then goes to the Senate. After the 2014 General Assembly session concludes, the resolutions become official.

No taxpayer dollars will be used for either sign. Tanner said he will personally take care of the costs, which are $300 to $400 each.