Highway Dedication Ceremony Held For Trooper Killed in Mason County
A stretch of a Northern Michigan highway now bears the name of a fallen state trooper.
Since Trooper Paul Butterfield II was killed in 2013, fundraisers and foundations have been set up in the slain trooper's honor.
Monday, the state honored Trooper Butterfield once again by naming a stretch of M-116 in Mason County after him.
Trooper Butterfield was shot and killed by Eric Knysz on September 9, 2013.
Knysz shot Butterfield during a traffic stop before taking off and starting a manhunt across three counties.
He was arrested a few hours later.
Knysz then died in prison three days after being sentenced to life behind bars.
The governor signed the memorial highway into law earlier this year.
It turned out to be an absolutely beautiful day, which helped showcase just how beautiful the now "Trooper Paul K. Butterfield II Memorial Highway" on M-116 is.
One state troopers says this memorial highway is to honor the way Trooper Butterfield lived, not how he died.
M-116 from Lincoln River to Ludington State Park in Mason County is now dedicated to Trooper Butterfield.
The Michigan State Police has worked since 2014 to get that portion of the highway dedicated in Butterfield’s name.
Hundreds of people came together Monday for the dedication, and all agree this is the best spot for the memorial.
“If anybody has ever traveled this route and gone up to the state park, they'll know it's easily one of the most beautiful stretches of roadway in Michigan, and I think that matches Paul and his personality,” said Lieutenant Jeff White, Michigan State Police.
Lieutenant White added getting the dedication also means a lot to this community, because Butterfield was so invested in the area.
I'm standing at a spot along the stretch of highway in his name and as you see behind me, it's obvious that this is a beautiful area which everyone agrees is appropriate for Paul.
“Paul's personality was as a shepherd, he looked out for those who couldn't look after themselves.”
The memorial highway in Paul Butterfield II honor can never take away the tragic way he died but it can serve as a reminder of what he meant to the area he served.
“The dedication of this memorial highway means a lot to a lot of different people both the member of the local community who really were affected.”
Paul's fiancée, Jennifer thinks the location is perfect.
“It's on a road where a lot of tourists go so they can look at that and question you know who trooper Butterfield.”
His step mom, Pat, is grateful to see people remembering the positive impact Paul had on the area.
“I'm just glad that he'll be remembered and it didn't just end on September 9 when he was killed.”
And while countless people will pass along the route, never knowing who Paul Butterfield was, his loved ones say they'll never forget.
“It just felt special to be around him and you know you just feel like he could like up a room as soon as he walked in. and his sense of humor that's the first thing that I will always cherish.”
Jennifer and Pat also told me the outpouring of support they've seen has meant a ton to them and they're glad Paul is being remembered for how he lived, not how he died.