KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A portion of Tazewell Pike and Emory Road could be renamed in honor of fallen Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss. Knauss was killed in the final days of the war in Afghanistan.
The bill (HB 1921) to rename part of Tazewell Pike the “SSG Ryan C. Knauss Memorial Highway” was filed for introduction in Nashville in late January by Rep. Dave Wright (R-District 19). Senator Becky Duncan Massey is a co-sponsor for the Senate version of the bill, SB 2038.
Tazewell Pike between Henegar Road and Gibbs road would get the name change, in addition to East Emory Road between Beeler and Boruff.
“It’s proper and fitting that we honor Sgt. Knauss for his heroic efforts and for making the ultimate sacrifice,” said Senator Massey.
She also said she felt this can serve as a reminder as to what those who serve our country do for our freedom.
“I think a lot of times we don’t really realize what sacrifices our military veterans make and I think this would definitely be a reminder,” she said. “He is a hero in our country, but as you say he is a hometown hero, too.”
For Sgt. Knauss’ father, Greg Knauss, he said the word ‘hero’ can still be strange to hear.
“I understand the whole hero thing,” said Greg Knauss. “Ryan’s still my kid and it’s just kind of surreal to think about it in that terms.”
Ryan Knauss was a Gibbs High School graduate, so with the school located on this portion of Tazewell Pike where a name change is possible, his father hopes if it’s passed it can motivate the students to be the best version of themselves.
“I hope it will be something that causes people to think, young people to think about their lives and what they’re going to do with them,” said Knauss. “That they would be honorable, good, productive citizens in whatever they do, be it military or civilian life.”
He ended talking about how he thinks his son would feel of all this.
“I think he would just shake his head and grin and probably blush,” he said. “He’d just be like, ‘What’s all this for me for?'”
The bill has already passed the Senate Transportation Committee. Tuesday, February 22 the bill will head to the House Transportation Committee. Senator Massey said it could be on the Senate floor as soon as Thursday.