By Kimberly Hefling
The Associated Press
WHITESVILLE, Ky. - Highway 54 took Pfc. David "Paulie" Nash to Vietnam. It did not bring him back.
Nash, 78, holds a picture of her son, David P. Nash, at her home
in Whitesville, Ky.
(Daniel R. Patmore/The Associated Press)
An Army chaplain instead traveled the two-lane road through western Kentucky's tobacco fields to deliver the news of Nash's death. The 20-year-old had rolled onto an exploding grenade, sacrificing his life to save three comrades.
That act of bravery posthumously earned him the Medal of Honor - but haunted those with him in Dinh Tuong that night in 1968.
"This is not Hollywood. This guy did this. It stays with you. It stays all your life," said Ken Bryant, Nash's bunkmate, who heard the explosion from afar.
Now, Highway 54 could lead to healing for some of those men who knew Nash during his two months in Vietnam.
An effort is under way to name a 15-mile stretch of Highway 54 from Owensboro to Whitesville in honor of Nash, a former Roman Catholic altar boy who loved cars and worked at a local filling station. Legislation seeking to do so is pending in Kentucky's General Assembly. If it passes, men in his unit would be invited to a dedication in May.
Nash's mother, Stella Nash, 78, still lives in the house on Highway 54 where she raised Paulie and seven other children. She and others in the family are surprised by the effort to name the road, and are pleased at the prospect - especially of meeting the men from Nash's unit.
The effort was initiated by two Vietnam veterans, Larry and Wayne Rhodes, who are cousins who went to the same grade school as Nash in Whitesville. They felt people needed to hear Nash's story.
wins turf wars at many schools
laws could backfire
warn African-Americans about AIDS threat
become family during cancer treatment
gives mothers special time with sons
found after 5 years
women told to help themselves
IN THE TRISTATE
family applauds choice to help out in Africa
gives parent advice
wading into debate on biology
crash survivor cheats death a second time
things happening: Group
can't play, sings for Ashcroft
things happening: Faith matters
Ann Loretto Connell, longtime teacher
Milner wrote laws, taught school
racing chairman finding legs
to name highway for Ky. hero of Vietnam
bemoan state school budget
High School forms new booster club
asks to withdraw her plea
jellybeans lead to lawsuit
criticizes racing board
affairs soldiers learn combat skills
just moseys away from job at prison dairy barn