VISALIA, Calif. (KGPE) — A local fallen hero’s legacy lives on in the south valley. Private First Class Keith Michael Williams, a Visalia resident killed in action, back in 2014, now has an overpass named in his honor.

Family and friends gathered early Sunday morning for the blessing of this memorial overpass sign on Highway 198, near the Akers Street off-ramp, all in honor of Keith Michael Williams.

“While on a mission in Kandahar, Afghanistan, his vehicle, army vehicle hit an IED and he was killed along with another staff sergeant, Benjamin Prange,” said Frankie Williams, Keith’s father.

Williams says his son Keith was just 19-years-old at the time, fresh out of high school and only 4 months into his mission.

“He wasn’t in the Army a whole year when he got killed,” Williams said. But Keith knew the sacrifice, following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. “He was excited about being an infantryman that’s what he wanted to do,” Williams said.

Though losing his son took a toll, Williams has done everything since to keep Keith’s memory alive. He started a basketball tournament in Keith’s honor at El Diamante High School in Visalia, Keith’s alma mater.

The money goes to the Central Valley Honor Flight and, “We have a scholarship right here at El Diamante that we give two scholarships every May to deserving seniors.” Another way Williams wanted to honor his son, by naming the overpass near Akers Street after him.

“It took us about 3 years going through all the red tape with the assembly and the senate, going through cal trans and the governor to get all this stuff done,” Williams said.

The sign cost about $10,000.

Williams says thankfully his tribe, which is part of the Eagle Mountain Casino, donated a large portion of it.

“For him to be recognized by the tribe with this donation was really special for us as a family,” Williams said.