The effort to rename a portion of Ohio 4 for fallen Hamilton firefighter Patrick Wolterman passed its first hurdle recently.
But the next step is a little uncertain, said Ohio Rep. Wes Retherford, R-Hamilton, who introduced the road-naming bill two weeks ago.
“Patrick Wolterman is a true hero in our community whose life was cut short by the greed of the homeowner,” said Retherford, referencing the Dec. 28, 2015 fire intentionally set by William Tucker at the request of his uncle, Lester Parker — both of whom were found guilty late last year of murder and arson and sentenced to life in prison.
Wolterman was the first line-of-duty death for the Hamilton Fire Department since 1971.
Historically, the House and Senate typically wait for several road-naming bills are passed out of committee and then combine those into one omnibus bill. Occasionally, a bill would be passed out of one chamber of the Statehouse if the other chamber has a number of these bills.
On Wednesday, the House Transportation and Public Safety Committee passed House Bill 534 by way of a 12-0 vote. This bill would rename Ohio 4 from North Fair Avenue to the High Street as “Firefighter and Paramedic Patrick Wolterman Memorial Highway.” The road passes in front of Wolterman’s fire station, Station 25.
Wolterman’s mother, Debbie Wolterman, was one of the six proponents of the bill who testified before the committee on Wednesday. She said her son, the youngest of three, “wanted to be a firefighter since he was a little boy.”
“He bravely went into the house to save the older couple that lived there. When he entered the front door, he fell through the floor,” she said. “In our view, our son gave his life for the city of Hamilton and the state of Ohio.”
There are 11 co-sponsors of the bill, of which four are Democrats.