Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt and Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes are proud to announce that State Highway 64 within the town of Mendon has been officially renamed in honor of fallen U.S. Army National Guardsman Chief Warrant Officer 4 Christian J. Koch. A well-respected citizen throughout Livingston and Monroe counties, Koch was among those who perished in a military helicopter training accident in the town on Jan. 20, 2021 with two others.
Ortt and Byrnes worked together at the state Capitol to enact legislation (S.5399/A.7031) to rename the highway in Koch’s memory, after consultation with the Koch family and local government officials. The signage officially dedicating the 1.7-mile portion of the roadway was installed by the state Department of Transportation.
“With today’s unveiling of the Chief Warrant Officer 4 Christian J. Koch Memorial Highway, we pay tribute to the service of Chief Warrant Officer Christian Koch. Chief Warrant Officer Koch was a hero to our community, and we honor the sacrifice he made while serving our nation,” said Sen. Ortt (R,C,I-North Tonawanda). “It is my hope that when motorists pass by this memorial sign, it will serve as a reminder of the true cost of freedom and the ultimate sacrifice that so many of our brave men and women in our armed forces have made throughout our nation's history. I am proud to have joined Assemblywoman Byrnes and New York State in commemorating Chief Warrant Officer Koch's life.”
“To our community, Christian Koch was more than a decorated war hero, he was a loving husband, father, and son, a caring neighbor, and friend. He was the person others looked up to, whose opinion you respected, and who you aspired to be,” said Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes (R,C-Caledonia). “His loss has been heartbreaking for the community, and especially his family. But we hope his legacy will live on, and that this small act of renaming the highway in his honor will inspire others to live their lives as Christian did his — in service to others.”
Koch was born and raised in Livingston County, later moving to Mendon where he resided with his wife and four children. After graduating from the State University of New York at Brockport, Koch served for 20 years in the New York State National Guard. He earned numerous medals and awards for his service which included multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Koch was also a civilian pilot with the New York State Police. He was just five days short of his 40th birthday at the time of his death.