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Kansas City now has a ‘Joe Delaney Memorial Highway’

Every day, a section of I-435 near Arrowhead Stadium will serve as a reminder of the Chiefs running back.

Kansas City Chiefs v Detroit Lions Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Over the past couple of years, Kansas City Chiefs fans haven’t had the Missouri Department of Transportation on their Christmas card lists. The I-70/I-435 interchange just northwest of Arrowhead Stadium has been under construction, which created game-day headaches for many of those approaching the Truman Sports Complex.

Now that the work is complete, Kansas City fans can begin to appreciate how the changes have improved the traffic flow around the stadium. And on Tuesday, MODOT gave Chiefs fans something else they can appreciate as they approach the stadium on game days: the erection of signage on I-435 to the southwest of the stadium that designates a two-mile stretch of the interstate as the “Joe Delaney Memorial Highway.”

Erected on the 38th anniversary of his death, the signs honor the Chiefs’ star running back who lost his life trying to save three children from drowning in Monroe, Louisiana on June 29, 1983.

The designated section of I-435 runs from Missouri Highway 350 northward to Raytown Road — a road that many thousands of cars travel on game days for both the Chiefs and Kansas City Royals. The memorial was the brainchild of Adam Jassey, a New Yorker who became a Kansas City sports fan after his father received his medical training at the Kansas City College of Osteopathic Medicine in the late 1960s — and who has become a tireless advocate for maintaining Delaney’s legacy.

We can’t improve on the brilliant Kansas City Star writer Vahe Gregorian’s concluding thoughts on the latest memorial to Delaney.

It’s a subtle memorial, to be sure. And we’re all for more and deeper and broader ways to make sure people never forget his story and hope this paves the way to yet more thoughts about ways to do that.

But the signs also are a tangible reminder now that will be seen by tens of thousands of people, if not millions, in the years to come before the dedication is subject to a renewal process in 20 years.

And anyone who either recognizes the name or becomes curious about it will be prompted to think about a man whose life was lived not in vain but as an inspiring example of love, an example that should be visible and enshrined around here as much as anywhere.

We won’t soon forget you, Joe.