GILLESPIE – Dozens of people gathered in Gillespie Monday to remember a Dorchester soldier who was killed in action in 1967 only a month after beginning his tour of duty in Vietnam.
Now, U.S. Army Private First Class Gary Wayne Price, a 1966 graduate of Gillespie High School, will be permanently honored in this Macoupin County community. A section of Illinois 16 from Stagecoach Road to Gillespie is officially designated the Pfc. Gary Wayne Price Memorial Highway, and the Illinois Department of Transportation has installed signage identifying it as such.
A ceremony Monday hosted by state Sens. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and Sam McCann (R-Plainview) and Price’s family brought together those who knew the soldier and wanted to honor his memory, including friends, classmates, relatives and area veterans. The event took place at the Gillespie Municipal Building.
“We take things for granted today in the United States – our freedom, the simple things we enjoy in life each and every day,” Manar said. “We enjoy those things because people put their lives on the line for their country and for people they will never meet and will never know. That’s what Gary Wayne Price did for us. This is a small thing we can do to honor his memory, but I think it’s a fitting thing for state government to do.”
Price was just 19 when he was killed by small arms fire on May 6, 1967, while serving near Plieku in Vietnam as an infantryman with Company B, 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. He had started his tour of duty on April 6, 1967.