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Highway patrol formally opens post

Pictured left to right, Capt. Thomas Dean, Colonel John Born, Lt. Michael Gore and Judge Charles Cooper are seen at the ribbon cutting.

SOUTH POINT — The Ironton Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol officially opened its new home Thursday morning.

Many highway patrol retirees and members of the community gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the post’s new South Point facility.

The post moved to a new $1.8 million, 5,900 square-foot building on Township Road 161 during the winter.

“It all began with a need and anyone serving in the old post can certainly say amen to that,” Rev. Richard Ellsworth, a chaplain with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, said during the invocation. “The new facilities were needed and the need then led to a vision… today we see the new facilities here in this beautiful site and we know that this is more than just a building made with stone and plaster and wood and glass. It’s a home.”

Lt. Michael Gore recognized many of the highway patrol retirees that came for the ceremony. A luncheon was held in their honor after the ceremony.

Thomas Dean, Jackson District Commander of the highway patrol, spoke about the new post.

“I’m one of the few people on the highway patrol who has been to every facility that we have a number of times in the job that I had prior to this,” Dean said. “I can truly tell you, you have one of the nicest facilities here in Lawrence County, that we have on the highway patrol and it’s fitting for such a fine group of people that work here.”

The guest speaker for the ceremony was Col. John Born, a superintendent for the OSHP. Born spoke both about the history of the highway patrol and its current goals.

The post’s first location opened In Coal Grove in 1946, Born said. After that it moved to Ironton before moving again to South Point.

“For those here today who remember it, look at what we now have,” Born said. “The reason we have that is because of the tradition, legacy, the sacrifice of many of you here today.

So far in 2011, there have been 50 fewer fatalities on Ohio roads than at this time last year, he said.

“In 2003 we developed a plan to reduce the number of people killed in Ohio (on roadways) to less than 1,000 a year, and I can tell you that’s a big number,” Born said. That goal was reached in 2008, he said.

“We’re on path in Ohio to set a record low fatality year,” Born said.