On August 1, Highway 38 from Clifton to the Tangipahoa Parish line will officially become the Lance Corporal Larry Wells Memorial Highway.
Re-naming the roadway is a way to honor a young Mount Hermon Marine who volunteered for service, and was killed by a sniper in Iraq.
“Larry wanted to make a difference,” said Joni Fanguy Sanders, who helped raise him.
Soon after graduating from Mount Hermon School in 2002, Larry signed up for the Marine Corps. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton, California.
It was from Camp Pendleton that Larry twice deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Larry’s second deployment, in 2004, proved to be fateful.
His infantry unit was sent to engage in some of the most intense fighting of the entire Iraq War. During a battle at An Najaf on August 6, 20004, Larry was hit and killed by sniper fire.
Larry Wells moved to Mt. Hermon in the fall of 1993 when he and his siblings were placed in foster care. Larry was well liked and quickly became friends with many of his classmates. One classmate was Joshua Fanguy. By the sixth grade you could find Larry constantly hanging out and going places with Joshua and his family.
Larry remained at Mt. Hermon until the 11th grade year. He moved into the Pine community and quickly made lasting friendship there also. At the end of that school year Larry moved in with the Fanguy famil and returned to Mount Hermon School.
Larry loved the military and talked about joining throughout his high school years. He decided on the Marines and left for boot camp shortly after graduating from Mt. Hermon School in 2002.
“He was so proud to wear that Dress Blue uniform,” said Joni Fanguy Sanders.
In 2005, the year after Larry’s death in Iraq, the Fanguy family started a scholarship fund that would provide a Mt. Hermon Senior each year with a $300 scholarship. To apply for the scholarship seniors write a 500 word essay on "What Freedom Means to Me". Joni Fanguy Sanders said this is a way to keep Larry's memory alive at Mount Hermon School.
Last year Joni contacted state Sen. Beth Mizell about renaming Highway 38 in honor of Larry. On March 9, 2020 a bill to re-name the highway was introduced in the Louisiana State Senate.
But then all non-COVID activity in the Senate was suspended. Earlier this year Sen. Mizell filed the bill again. After it passed, it was signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards and will become effective on August 1. While Highway 38 will retain its road number, it will forever be officially known as the Lance Corporal Larry Wells Memorial Highway. A dedication ceremony will be held in November.
An account has been established at Citizens Savings Bank in Franklinton for anyone who would like to make a donation to help cover the expense of the signs that will be placed at each end of Highway 38. The total price of the two signs is about $1,200. Any donations that exceed this amount will be transferred to the Lance Corporal Larry Wells Memorial Scholarship account to continue sharing his story and his memory at Mt. Hermon School.