Pike County natives honored with names on road signs

Published: May. 26, 2020 at 10:02 AM EDT
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Two Pike County natives were recognized with honorary road signs for their achievements and involvement in their communities.

The 2020 General Assembly added Caney Creek native Bennie Rose to the Country Music Highway.

Rose was born in 1958. He graduated from Virgie High School in 1976.

At the age of 11, Rose taught himself how to play the guitar after his father gave him his first one.

He worked as a ground engineer in the coal business after high school, but continued with his interest in music.

He formed the band Due South, which was inducted into the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame on Nov. 23, 2014.

Recently, Rose performed as lead singer with the band Appalachian Travelers.

He was individually inducted into the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame on Nov. 26, 2016.

“Through his drive and great musical talent, Bennie Rose has brought honor to Pike County,” Senator Phillip Wheeler said. “His example serves as a beacon of hope for future generations of musical artists in Appalachia. It is fitting that Bennie be recognized for his achievements by being added to the Country Music Highway.”

The state legislature designated a section of KY-1056 in the memory of WWII veteran Thurman W. "Punch" May.

May fought in Europe in 1944 and despite being injured, he wanted to return to his unit.

"May is a paramount example of the Greatest Generation," Wheeler said.

One week later, May was severely wounded in action in France. He lost his right leg and sustained serious injury to his left leg and arm.

He returned home where he became a community leader.

May earned several military honors and commendations, including the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, two Purple Hearts, the Combat Infantry Badge and the Croix de Guerre, awarded to him by France.

Both of the designations came at the request of Wheeler.

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