Shafter highway dedicated in memory of fallen solider

SHAFTER, Calif. - A portion of Highway 43 in the City of Shafter is now dedicated in memory of Staff Sgt. Ricardo "Ricky" Barraza. The local hero from Shafter served three tours in Afghanistan and three in Iraq. He made the ultimate sacrifice in combat in 2006. 

"He loved what he did, for his community and for his country," Gustavo Barraza, Ricardo's cousin said. 

Mariana Sobolewski, an Air Force veteran from Wasco heard Barraza's story and felt led to honor him locally. 

"Being that he's been the only local Shafter resident to die in combat since Vietnam, I was really moved to do something to memorialize him," Sobolewski said. 

On Friday, Assemblymember Rudy Salas honored Barraza at the Memorial Highway Dedication Ceremony and unveiled the sign that will be placed on State Route 43. 

"He was a local kid that wanted to do right. He heard about the war on terrorism and he didn't turn the other way," Salas said. 

Now Barraza will be remembered as a local hero. 

"Take it all in when you drive through there and feel thankful for these men and women that sacrifice for our well-being here in this country," Gustavo Barraza said. 

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