CUYAHOGA FALLS - Those driving along Broad Boulevard will see a sign at Third Street honoring the life and service of Sgt. 1st Class Daniel B. Crabtree.
SFC Crabtree was a Cuyahoga Falls police officer and was serving as a U.S. Army Special Forces "Green Beret" and member of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne), of the Ohio Army National Guard when he was killed June 8, 2006, in Al-Kut, Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Mayor Don Walters gathered with SFC Crabtree’s family and friends Monday afternoon to place an honorary street sign named "SFC Daniel B. Crabtree Blvd" at the intersection of Broad Boulevard and Third Street. The sign placement was followed by an official presentation at the City Council meeting later that evening.
“Daniel Crabtree served our nation and our city with immense courage, devotion, and sacrifice,” Walters said. “He served with great passion and love for our police department and his military service and his life was taken far too soon.”
Cuyahoga Falls Police Chief Jack Davis said Crabtree served 12 years on the police force as a patrol officer and SWAT team member.
“I was his training officer,” Davis said. “He was very dedicated to law enforcement and the military. He was training Iraqi police officers when he was killed by a roadside bomb.”
A police car with Crabtree's badge number 3111 painted on the side near the hood was parked on Third Street and some of those gathered wore T-shirts in memory of SFC Crabtree.
Cuyahoga Falls Police Captain Perry Tabak said they did a previous memorial T-shirt when SFC Crabtree was killed in Iraq.
“We want to keep his memory alive for those who didn't work with him [on the force],” Tabak said.
SFC Crabtree’s father, Ron, spoke at the presentation.
“It's been 12 years since we lost Dan in Iraq. Ever since he was a Cub Scout he wanted to serve his country in the Army,” said Ron, who served in the Air Force. “He loved the Army and he loved serving the community here in Cuyahoga Falls. We appreciate this honor.”
His widow, Kathy Crabtree, said she met Daniel when they were 17 and in high school, and they were together until she turned 28. Their daughter, Mallory, is 13.
“He really enjoyed fighting for our country and being a father and helping people out,” Kathy said. “He was a role model for many people.”
His mother, Judy Crabtree, said Daniel and all the fallen soldiers have given their all.
“It's a huge sacrifice for them and their families,” Judy said.
SFC Crabtree's awards and decorations include the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Parachutist Badge, and the Special Forces Tab. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, and Combat Infantryman Badge.
The Honorary Boulevard Street Naming Award is an initiative used to pay homage to the people and organizations that selflessly give back to Cuyahoga Falls residents and the city as a whole, according to the mayor’s office. To qualify, a nominee must have made extraordinary volunteer contributions to the local community, arts, environment, education, neighborhoods, health, or human services. They are recognized for their substantial volunteer efforts, time commitments, and financial donations that directly impact the betterment of the community. This is an honorary gesture only and does not change the official designation of Broad Boulevard for postal purposes.
Reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at 330-541-9434 or email@example.com