Local leaders found a way to memorialize a Christiansburg native who died fighting for his country by naming the recently opened park and ride in his honor.
Sgt. Kenneth B. Gibson enlisted in the Army less than six months after Sept. 11, 2001 and served his country as a Stryker driver in Iraq.
Assigned to the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, he was killed in action in August 2008 from wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device detonated near his position.
A dedication ceremony naming the commuter lot the “Kenneth B. Gibson Memorial Park and Ride” was held Saturday morning at the waiting area of the facility.
Local leaders, citizens wanting to pay their respects and members of Gibson’s family were in attendance to memorialize a man that gave his life to the country he loved.
“Kenneth showed up every single day of his service and he put his life on the line to ensure that you and me and all of our loved ones could be here today, enjoying the freedoms he worked to protect,” Delegate Nick Rush (7th District) said.
Rush said that he, as well as Delegate Greg Habeeb (8th District), came up with the idea of dedicating the lot in Gibson’s honor.
“As daily commuters utilize this Park and Ride and make their way into work or arrive back home after a long day, they’ll be reminded of your service. They’ll see your name proudly displayed, and they’ll realize that it is because of you, and your brothers and sisters in the military, that they are able to go into work each day and arrive safely home to their families,” Rush said.
Gibson’s mother Athena spoke tearfully about what an honor it was for her and her family to have her son be remembered in the community.
“It makes us proud to know Kenny isn’t forgotten, because we sure haven’t forgotten him,” she said.
The expansion project began in 2016, and the 260-space lot is essentially finished with two bus shelters and a few cosmetic additions to be completed in the next few months. The new lot is located on Roanoke Street near I-81 exit 118 in Christiansburg. The sign bearing his name is visible at the lot’s entrance.
The project cost approximately $5.2 million. There are lanes and space for both the Mega and Smart Way buses to pick up and unload in the new lot.
Smart Way offers affordable transportation to places like Knoxville, Tennessee and Washington D.C., among others. For more information on specific routes and destinations, visit www.smartwaybus.com.