Bill introduced to rename portion of U.P. highway after WWII hero

A Michigan State Representative introduced a bill today to rename a section of Upper Peninsula highway after a World War II veteran who was killed in action.

Rep. Gregory Markkanen (R), who serves Michigan’s 110th District, wants to rename a portion of M-26 in Houghton County as the Private Wesley Karna Memorial Highway. Private Karna, who was born and raised in Painesdale, served in the Fifth Army, 91st Infantry, 362nd Regiment, F Company in Italy during the war. He died Sept. 22, 1944, in northern Italy while fighting against the Gothic Line, an enemy force made up of German and Italian forces. Karna received a Purple Heart for his service.

The young war hero was one of nine children born to parents Erick and Ida Karna, who were Finnish immigrants. “Pvt. Karna served his country bravely in its time of greatest need. As a fellow veteran, I’m honored to introduce a bill to memorialize his service and sacrifice in the Painsedale and South Range communities,” Markkanen said.

Markkanen is Republican vice-chair on the House Committee on Military, Veterans, and Homeland Security and served with the 82nd Airborne Division in the Airborne Infantry Platoon as well as in the Michigan Army National Guard. 

His bill to rename a section of M-26 was referred to the House Transportation Committee.