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Army Spc. Russell E. Madden

Died June 23, 2010 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

29, of Dayton, Ky.; assigned to the 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Conn Barracks, Germany; died June 23 at FOB Shank, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his vehicle with rocket fire.

Highway named after fallen specialist

By Scott Wartman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BELLEVUE, Ky. — Motorists traveling along the stretch of Memorial Parkway in Bellevue will see the name of Spc. Russell Madden.

On May 31 that portion of highway was dedicated to Madden, 29, who was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade attack on an Army convoy in Afghanistan in June 2010.

Family and residents in Madden’s hometown of Bellevue wiped tears from their eyes and remembered their fallen friend as The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and state Sen. Katie Stine, R-Southgate, unveiled the sign Tuesday that will adorn the highway.

“It is an awesome tribute to my husband,” said Michelle Madden. “He deserves it. I want this sign for my son to say, ‘Hey, that’s my dad’s sign. That’s what my dad’s done for us.’ This is what’s going to carry on his legacy.”

Madden also left behind a son, Parker, 5, and a stepson, Jared Pulsfort, 12.

Madden’s father, Martin Madden, said he wants people to not only remember his son when they pass the sign, but to also think of everyone in the military and their families. He also hopes it serves as a reminder for everyone to appreciate their own family.

“I’ve had people that I’ve spoken with after Russell’s passing that called me and said, ‘You know, I work too much. After seeing your family, I’m going to spend more time with mine,’ ” Martin Madden said.

“I think that is the greatest monument to him. That he could change people’s attitudes and make them look at themselves and their relationships and make a conscientious effort to build those bonds. He was loved by this community and I think it is a fantastic thing.”

Many in Bellevue remember Russell Madden as someone who would step up in a crisis and lead. Former Bellevue High School football coach Charlie Coleman remembered that, during his sophomore year, Russell Madden volunteered to give up his position as quarterback so another talented young player could take his place.

Madden played running back, linebacker, kicker and punt returner until he graduated in 2000. The football team went 22-3 in Madden’s last two years at the school.

“He was someone very unselfish,” Coleman said. “To be your high school quarterback and willingly give up that position to go play another position to make the team better. That is how I remember Russell Madden.”

Russell Madden also volunteered on the track team to run hurdles when a runner suffered an injury. He placed sixth in the state in the event.

“I don’t say this because of unbelievable physical ability,” Martin Madden said. “I say that because that was his heart. His heart was, ‘Guys, I will not let you down. We will get there.’ This is the same thing the soldiers in his platoon told me. If ever there was going to be a problem, they wanted to be with Russell because they knew he would never let them down. If they got in a jam, he would always be the one to make sure they were taken care of. That was him. That was who he was.”

His family visited Madden’s platoon in Germany in December 2010.

“I told everyone of those soldiers, I said, ‘You know, if someone had to go that day, and someone was going to leave, our son would have been proud that he was the one that took the rocket and not everybody else,’ ” Martin Madden said. “‘As hard as it is as a group, your platoon has to move forward. That is what he would have wanted you to do, if he was here.’ ”

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