Portion of STH 33 near Portage honors fallen soldier

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- A portion of State Highway 33 between Portage and Baraboo was renamed in honor of a U.S. Army Ranger killed in Somalia.

Staff Sergeant Daniel D. Busch was a U.S. Army Ranger and a member of the U.S. Army Special Operations Delta Force.

In October 1994, his helicopter was shot down in Mogadishu, Somalia. He survived the crash, but was shot and killed as he provided fire to protect his team members. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star Medal and a Purple Heart.

On Tuesday, Gov. Tony Evers signed Assembly Bill 77 at Portage High School designating the 9.5-mile portion of highway as the Staff Sergeant Daniel D. Busch Memorial Highway.

“Staff Sergeant Busch is a hero. He sacrificed everything for his team and country, and we are eternally grateful,” he said.

The renamed portion of STH 33 will run from Portage to the western border of Columbia County. It goes past Busch's mother's house and the cemetery where he is buried.

Busch's mother, Ginny Busch, and cousin Brian Wheeler were both at the signing ceremony. Wheeler grew up very close to Busch.

"Dan and I spent a lot of time hunting, fishing and just kind of goofing around," Wheeler said, adding, "He was the kind of guy you always wanted to be around."

Busch's family is raising money to put signs along the highway to indicate the new name.

"I'll probably wear that highway out, just driving up and down it to see it," Wheeler said, laughing.

The family will also use the money to put up a memorial near Busch's grave, so more people can learn who Busch was as a man and a soldier.

Wheeler started a GoFundMe page to raise money. So far, the family has raised almost $6,000.

Busch went to Portage High School. After graduating, he joined the Army.

"I think about him every day, he's always on my mind," Busch's mom Ginny Busch said. "I can still see him coming through the door at home and say, 'Mom, I'm home.'"

Busch's family wanted more people to hear his legacy, so they worked to pass Assembly Bill 77.

"When we set out, you didn't think this was even possible," Wheeler said.

The bill was introduced in March 2019, and eight months later, it was presented to the governor.

"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," Evers said. "My condolences are with his family, friends, and community as they continue to mourn his loss and remember his life.”

"It's something that never can be taken away from him or our family," Wheeler said.