Gov. Evers signs bill to honor fallen staff sergeant; part of Highway 33 named in his memory

Gov. Tony Evers signed Assembly Bill 77 on Tuesday to honor a fallen staff sergeant.

The bipartisan bill, which is now known as 2019 Wisconsin Act 23, designates roughly 9 1/2 miles of Highway 33 between Portage and Baraboo as the Staff Sergeant Daniel D. Busch Memorial Highway.

According to the news release, Busch was a U.S. Army Ranger and member of the U.S. Army Special Operations Delta Force. While serving in Mogadishu, Somalia, Busch’s helicopter was shot down by enemy fire. He survived the crash but was killed by enemy fire after providing supporting fire to protect his team members.

The release said Busch was posthumously awarded the Silver Star Medal and a Purple Heart.

“Staff Sgt. Busch is a hero. He sacrificed everything for his team and country, and we are eternally grateful,” said Gov. Evers. “It is an honor to sign this bill into law so his legacy of selflessness and courage can live on in his community and our state. My condolences are with his family, friends, and community as they continue to mourn his loss and remember his life.”

Busch’s cousin Brian Wheeler was at the bill signing and said this is a dream come true.

“I don’t know if it’s really hit me yet,” Wheeler said. “It’s just something nobody can ever take away from Dan.”

Busch’s mother Ginny Johnson was also in attendance and said, “Everybody wants their son or daughter remembered. I know where he is and I know I will see him again.”

Also on Tuesday, Evers vetoed Assembly Bill 249, which relates to marking a highway or bridge for an honoree.

#GovernorTonyEvers just signed a bill that will allow a section of Highway 33 in #Portage to be dedicated to Staff Sgt. Daniel D. Busch who died when his black hawk helicopter was shot down in 1993.

— Jamie Perez (@JamiePerezTV) November 19, 2019

Evers said the bill limits how and when we can honor Wisconsinites by dedicating a portion of a state highway or bridge in their name.

He said the highway dedication honoring Busch would not have happened had he not vetoed this bill.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Evers was “playing partisan games” by vetoing the bill. Vos released a statement saying: “The bipartisan bill was intended to preserve the integrity of the tradition by honoring worthy individuals in our state and was widely supported in both chambers. The governor continues to put politics over people.”

Wheeler said he purchased the signage for Busch’s highway dedication and hopes that county staff can get them posted as soon as possible.

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