Signage was recently installed on Route 137 in Libertyville designating the highway in honor of United States Army Specialist Wesley R. Wells (left), who died in 2004 in Afghanistan. | Provided Photos

A large stretch of Route 137 in Libertyville is now designated in honor of a Libertyville native and U.S. Army soldier who was killed in Afghanistan.

The Illinois House of Representatives last May unanimously passed a resolution offered by State Representative Chris Bos (R-Lake Zurich).

The resolution was to honor the memory of fallen United States Army Specialist Wesley R. Wells by renaming a portion of Illinois Route 137.

Wells, a lifelong Libertyville resident, died in 2004 while fighting insurgents in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.

The signage along Route 137 to complete the designation was recently installed.

“SPC Wells felt the call to service after the 9/11 terror attacks. He subsequently joined the United States Army to make a career out of protecting his country. He paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation in 2004 while fighting insurgents in eastern Afghanistan,” Bos said.

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“While designating a portion of Route 137 in his memory is a small act, by comparison, it is the least we can do to honor his sacrifice,” Bos said.

Wells was born in Libertyville on October 24, 1982, where he was a lifelong resident and attended Libertyville High School.

After high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. In April 2004, he was deployed to Afghanistan to conduct combat operations with the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment.

Wells was killed in action in Paktika, Afghanistan, on September 20, 2004.

Wells was awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Army Service Ribbons, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.

As part of the Heroes Way Designation Program, the resolution originally designated the portion of Illinois Route 137 from Illinois Route 21 to Butterfield Road in Libertyville to honor Wells’ memory.

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After further consultation with the family, the state extended the designation area east to O’Plaine Road, which includes Ascension Cemetery, where Wells is laid to rest.

“My family and I offer our sincere and heartfelt appreciation to Representative Bos and Marshall Metcalf of the Illinois Department of Transportation for honoring Wesley’s service to our country,” said Joan Neal, Wells’ mother.

Numerous family and friends of Wells still live in the Libertyville area and Bos said it was their efforts that helped spur the designation in his memory.