OWASSO — Sgt. Anthony Peterson possessed a passion for his faith, family and country, his father said.
“We really weren’t excited about him deploying this time because he was a single father, raising (now 6-year-old) Dakota,” Garth Peterson, Anthony Peterson’s dad, said in a telephone interview Friday. “But he was a person who wanted to hold to his commitments. There was a place in his heart for his country to do what was right.”
Peterson, 24, of Chelsea, was killed during combat Aug. 4, 2011, in Afghanistan. Affiliated with the Oklahoma Army National Guard, he was hit with small-arms fire while on a dismounted patrol in Paktia province.
The state of Oklahoma named a highway after the soldier Saturday.
State Sen. Rick Brinkley, R-Collinsville, and state Rep. David Derby, R-Owasso, sponsored Senate Bill 1320, which designated U.S. 169, from 76th Street North to 86th Street North, the “Sergeant Anthony Del Mar Peterson Memorial Highway.”
The dedication was held at First Bank of Owasso.
“It means a lot to us,” Garth Peterson said. “They are honoring our son and his service, his sacrifice. We’re very grateful for it.”
Previously deployed to Afghanistan in 2006-07, Anthony Peterson was attached to Vinita’s Company B, with the 1st Battalion of the 279th Infantry Regiment, based in the Tulsa area.
He asked his parents permission to join the National Guard before graduating from Chelsea High School in 2005, Garth said.
“Anthony was always very passionate,” his father said. “Whatever he did, he was all out. If he was going to do something, that was his personality.”
In May, Rogers State University conferred a posthumous degree to Peterson, who had completed 71 credit hours at the university at the time of his death.
At Rogers State, Peterson started a Bible study group called “Rescue” in his dormitory, Garth Peterson said. His son also was active in organizations such as Campus Crusade for Christ and the Baptist Collegiate Ministry and participated in other service-oriented activities.
“He felt that God sent his son to rescue us,” Garth said. “He had given us a mission to rescue other people.
“He’d seen religion. He had a passion in his heart for people to see more than that, to really know God, not just know about him.”
Dakota was Peterson’s buddy, Garth said.
“They had a strong relationship,” he said. “They would play. Dakota’s all boy. Anthony was rough. They would play and fight constantly, wrestle and have fun.”
Four miles of U.S. 169 in and near Owasso now bear the names of servicemen.
Earlier this month, U.S. 169 from 86th to 96th streets north was named the “Sergeant Schuyler B. Patch Memorial Highway” in honor of Patch, a soldier and a former Owasso resident who was killed Feb. 24, 2009, by a roadside bomb in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
On Sept. 6, a 2-mile section of the federal highway, from 106th to 116th streets north, was dedicated to fallen Collinsville soldier Christopher D. Horton.