By LENORE RUTHERFORD
Seventy miles of Highway 108 might be called "Tuolumne County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway" starting next year.
That's when Assembly Concurrent Resolution 17, renaming the portion of the highway in Tuolumne County, will take effect if it is approved by the state Senate.
The resolution, introduced by Assemblyman Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto, has already passed through the state House.
"We are thrilled, especially for Vietnam veterans" said Ron Hobbs, president of the Vietnam Veterans of America's Tuolumne County Chapter 391. "After the way we were treated during and after the war, this is a very fitting tribute, in my opinion. That's not to say anything bad about other veteran groups, though. I belong to just about all of them."
Hobbs said Cogdill was guest speaker at one of the chapter's dinner meetings last autumn, and some of the Vietnam veterans attending the meeting suggested then the highway or some landmark on it be named to honor veterans.
"He (Cogdill) took the idea and ran with it," said Hobbs. "He did it all on his own, and we are just thrilled."
Cogdill did get help from Tuolumne County, though.
After one of his staff members asked Hobbs if the Vietnam veterans could show support for the resolution, the chapter gathered some 1,200 letters backing the legislation.
The chapter also agreed to raise donations to pay for signs proclaiming the highway's new name.
In Tuolumne County, Highway 108 extends from the top of Sonora Pass to Yosemite Junction with Highway 120, except for a 5-mile stretch between Sonora and Montezuma Junction that is officially part of Highway 49 although it is commonly called Highway 108.
Hobbs said two signs will be installed if the resolution passes, one at Sonora Pass and one at Yosemite Junction.
"We may put up more signs as time goes by," he said. "I appreciate Assemblyman Cogdill's recognition of Vietnam veterans.
"It is absolutely fantastic."
Contact Lenore Rutherford at lrutherford@ uniondemocrat.com.