RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (KABC) -- The Haven Avenue overpass over the 210 Freeway in Rancho Cucamonga will be renamed in honor of a fallen hometown hero.
"Post mile marker 6.1.913 now to be known forever as the Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola Memorial highway overcrossing," announced Assemblyman James Ramos of Highland.
During a moving ceremony, several members of the community gathered to remember the life of U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola.
Merola was one of 13 U.S. service members killed during an August 2021 suicide bomb attack at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan. He and his unit were helping with the evacuation ahead of the Taliban's takeover.
A resolution authored by Ramos and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom will honor his sacrifice by renaming the freeway overpass located not far from where Merola grew up and dreamed of becoming a Marine.
"Dylan's defining moment was the day I picked him up from boot camp ... he had earned the title United States Marine through vigorous training. My baby boy had turned into a man," said Merola's mother, Cheryl Rex.
Rex thanked the community for their continued support. She remembered her 20-year-old son for his kindness, courage and bravery.
"Dylan took pride in all his efforts to get as many people to safety as possible. He would stand up and do this all over again just to save one more person," she said.
A little over a year ago, the Haven Avenue overpass was crowded with mourners who held American flags and stood in honor of Merola during a procession bringing his remains home to be buried.
Now, the same overpass will bear his name for years to come remind all who pass under and over it of his sacrifice.
"We recognize that your sacrifice was not just your own, that it was 12 others, that it was 200 plus others," said Merola's best friend, Dakota Mancuso. "We thank you, we love you, and we miss you and we won't forget you."