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West Babylon road to be renamed for deceased veteran

Suffolk County on Saturday will ceremoniously rename a West Babylon road in honor of a soldier who joined the military after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Legis. Wayne Horsley (D-Babylon) sponsored legislation dedicating Great East Neck Road from Arnold Avenue to Rt. 109 in honor of U.S. Army Sgt. William B. McKenna.
McKenna grew up in West Babylon and graduated from West Babylon High School in 1987, going on to work in the construction industry installing windows and siding.

According to family, McKenna was moved by the patriotism that followed the Sept. 11 attacks and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2002 at age 33. He served two tours of duty in Iraq and was stationed at Balad Air Base where he was exposed to toxins produced by burn pits — large trenches where tons of waste including tires, munitions and medical waste are incinerated.

McKenna died in December 2010 at age 41 from a rare form of lymphoma believed to have developed as a result of his exposure to toxic fumes. He left behind a wife and two young daughters.

The memorial dedication ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. in front of West Babylon High School on Great East Neck Road. Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton), who sponsored legislation that led to a reduction of burn pits at military bases, will be the keynote speaker.


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