Honor your hero with thoughts, memories, images and stories.
Street of honor By NEIL YOUNG/The Daily News | Posted: Monday, April 11, 2011 12:00 am Street of honor Dustin Burnett Way was formally dedicated Sunday in honor of Navy Corpsman Dustin K. Burnett, who died June 20, 2008, when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle in Afghanistan. NEIL YOUNG/The Daily News BULLHEAD CITY — Emotions ran high Sunday morning, as a portion of Rio Grande Road was dedicated as Dustin Burnett Way, in memory of U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman Dustin K. Burnett. The street leads to the northern entrance of Veterans Memorial Park. Attached to a Marine division in Afghanistan, the 19-year-old Fort Mohave man was killed June 20, 2008, when a roadside bomb exploded while he was riding in a vehicle in the Farah province of central-western Afghanistan. Speaking at the ceremony, Burnett’s mother, Debbie Nuchols, said Dustin “had wanted to serve in the military since he was a small boy. He wanted to go over as a corpsman because he would say he wanted to help save as many of his Marines as he could. He was such an amazing young man and I am so proud that I was honored to have him in my life for the time that I did.” She gave special recognition to Vietnam veterans. “Those very veterans who were treated so badly when they came home are doing the most for the new generation of veterans coming home to ensure they have someone there to help them.” Jim Allen, Patriot Guard rider, worked to get the city to approve the name change, beginning with Development Services Director Janice Paul, who helped him with the necessary paperwork, and ending with the city council, which voted for the name change. The process only took about 30 days. “I ran into some outstanding people in this community,” Allen said, referring to Mayor Jack Hakim and Paul. “When we came back from ‘Nam’ we would have given anything for something like this,” Allen said, regarding the crowd that turned out Sunday. Hakim recalled Burnett’s send-off in which Hakim awarded him with a key to the city. “I hugged him and whispered, ‘Be careful.’ He whispered back, ‘I will, and thank you.’” During Burnett’s funeral procession, “Thousands waited along the roadway with hands across their hearts and flags in hand to honor him as the long procession passed.” Hakim said, to his knowledge, the area had never seen anything like it. He said he will ask the city to place a plaque in Veterans Memorial Park, “so that future generations will know why we honor (him).” “If there was anything I could say about Dustin, he was truth, honor, courage,” said Gianni Chiero, ride captain with the Patriot Guard Riders. “And I’d like to tell you that I consider him, in heaven, freedom’s angel.” “Dustin’s memory and spirit and all — it’s (everywhere) and always will be,” said Chaplain Tom Hanlon with the Vietnam Veterans of America, and a Patriot Rider, who wears Burnett’s dog tag. “That’s our job to always remember (and) never forget and to celebrate him today.”