On December 9, State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I – Oneonta)  and Assemblyman Clifford W. Crouch (R – Bainbridge) dedicated a portion of New York State Route 357 in Delaware County in honor of United States Marine Corps Corporal Nicholas K. Uzenski.  The state officials were joined by family members, local elected leaders, and law enforcement representatives as they unveiled new highway signs memorializing the fallen hero.

Senator James L. Seward said, “Every man and woman who dons a United States military uniform sacrifices for our nation and our way of life.  Corporal Uzenski made the ultimate sacrifice and we owe it to him and his family to keep his memory alive.  I am proud to have played a role in establishing this special highway designation that helps symbolize our appreciation for a fallen hero.  As motorists travel through Franklin and see the signs commemorating Corporal Uzenski I hope they are reminded of his valor, courage, and service to our nation.”

Assemblyman Clifford W. Crouch said, “"U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Nicholas K. Uzenski served our country with honor and distinction, receiving numerous medals and recognitions for his service, including the Purple Heart. This highway dedication is but a small token of appreciation, recognition and gratitude for fallen American heroes like Corporal Uzenski.  We owe a tremendous debt to our servicemen and women and their families for the freedoms we all hold dear today. Memorials like this will always remind us of their courage and bravery, and that their legacy will never be forgotten.”

Corporal Nickolas K. Uzenski, 21, of Franklin, New York, died January 11, 2010 in Helmond Province, Afghanistan, from injuries sustained when his unit was ambushed during a reconnaissance mission.  Corporal Uzenski and two other marines were killed during the mission; however, their heroic actions were credited with saving the rest of their team.

Corporal Uzenski was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the NATO International Security Assistance Service Medal, the Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Purple Heart.

Legislation (S.6955/A.9556) sponsored by Senator Seward and Assemblyman Crouch renaming the portion of New York State Route 357 from the intersection with State Route 28 in the town Franklin to the Franklin-Sidney town line as the “Corporal Nicholas K. Uzenski Memorial Highway” was approved by the legislature and signed into law earlier this year.

Senator Seward also presented the family of Corporal Nicholas K. Uzenski with the state senate’s Liberty Medal.  The Liberty Medal is the highest honor bestowed by the New York State Senate, recognizing those who were willing to sacrifice their lives, or did so, in defense of America and the cause of freedom and world peace.