Designation honors 1993 Allegany Central School Graduate who died in Afghanistan
ALLEGANY – Sen. George Borrello has announced that legislation he sponsored to rename Route 417 in the Town of Allegany the “Staff Sergeant Shawn M. Clemens Memorial Highway” has been signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Shawn M. Clemens, 28, was killed in action by an explosion on Jan. 29, 2004, while on patrol in the Afghan Village of Dehe Hendu as his unit was securing a large cache of weapons they had uncovered.
“Staff Sgt. Clemens served his country with honor and distinction. Now Route 417 in his hometown will stand as a testament to his commitment and selflessness to our great nation,” Sen. Borrello said. “He gave his life in defense of freedom. We can never fully repay that debt, but we can remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for us and our nation.”
Legislation marking the designation, sponsored by Senator Borrello in the Senate and Assemblyman Joseph M. Giglio in the Assembly, unanimously passed the Senate and Assembly.
Staff Sgt. Clemens grew up in Allegany and graduated from Allegany Central School in 1993. At Allegany, he was a varsity athlete in football, wrestling and baseball. He was also an avid hunter, fisherman and outdoorsman.
He attended Alfred State College before enlisting in the U.S. Army. During eight years of service, Staff Sgt. Clemens graduated from basic training and airborne training at Ft. Benning, GA., and jungle expert advanced training in Panama. He was first assigned to 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Hunter Army Air Field, Savanah, GA. Upon graduation from U.S. Army Sniper School, he was assigned as an infantry team and squad leader to Bravo Co., 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum.
During his military service, Staff Sgt. Clemens was twice awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge, he also received the Parachutist Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, two Army Commendation Medals, three Army Achievement Medals, the Good Conduct Medal with bronze knot clasp, National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, U.S. Army Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with “2” Device, U.S. Army Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal – Kosovo Operation, U.S. Army Expert Rifleman Badge, the Valorous Unit Award and the Superior Unit Award.
“It was an honor to sponsor this legislation in the Assembly. The renaming of Route 417 in the Town of Allegany as the Staff Sgt. Shawn M. Clemens Memorial Highway is a symbol of our deep gratitude for the sacrifices made by this young soldier and his family,” said Assemblyman Giglio. “We can never truly repay the debt we owe to Staff Sgt. Clemens, who fought so bravely for the freedom of others, but we will do everything we can to honor his memory. I urge my colleagues in the New York State Assembly to pass this bill and forward it to the governor’s desk for signature.”
At the time of his death, Staff Sgt. Clemens was married to April Robbins Clemens and had a three-year-old son, Gavin, and a stepdaughter, Alexis Clark.
“Staff Sgt. Clemens devoted his life to serving his country. He embodied the ideals of honor, duty and courage which exemplify the men and women who serve in our country’s armed forces,” Sen. Borrello said. “Growing up, Staff Sgt. Clemens traveled this road many times with his family. Naming this highway in his honor is a fitting tribute to his service and sacrifice. I want to thank Assemblyman Giglio for sponsoring this legislation in the Assembly and Gov. Hochul for signing it into law.”
*Editors note: I worked with Staff Sgt. Clemens father at Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville and he was proud beyond proud of his son.