Aselage Honored At Highway Naming Ceremony

Staff Writer

On April 2, 1975, Michael J. Aselage — just 24 years old, months removed from a four-year stint in the Coast Guard and a volunteer on the Fort Loramie Fire Department —  returned to the site of a downed power line on State Route 705 in Fort Loramie to divert traffic away from the scene.  When the door of his vehicle came in contact with the power line, Aselage was killed.

A few weeks after the 43rd anniversary of his death, several hundred gathered under a tent near the site of the accident to honor Aselage by naming that section of State Route 705 the Michael J. Aselage Memorial Highway after the man who gave his life trying to keep others in his community safe.

Fort Loramie retired firefighter Tony Winner welcomed the group to the event, giving the gathered details of Aselage’s life and the event that took his life.

Aselage’s family and friends pulled on a white sheet, unveiling the sign.

Aselage was the son of Bernard, who died in 2010, and Elizabeth (Betty) Aselage, who died in 2002. He had a sister, Shirley Elsass, who pulled a white sheet from over the road sign along State Route 705 located between the A.J. Wise Library and the Fort Loramie school as family and friends stood near.

“We are just honored that they are acknowledging my brother and remembering him,”Elsass said. “It’s just a wonderful day for the family. He was very dedicated to the fire department, so this is a true honor.”

Aselage worked for Larger Construction Co. at the time of his death. He was a member of St. Michael’s Catholic Church and volunteered on the fire department and was a member of the American Legion Post 355. After four years in the U.S. Coast Guard, he followed in his father’s footsteps joining the fire department as a volunteer.

Barbara Taylor, the deputy district director representing U.S. Congressman Jim Jordan, read the statement read into the Congressional record by Jordan on the floor of the U.S. House.

“As we gather to celebrate his selfless service, I am grateful to the Fort Loramie firefighter community for pursuing this honor in tribute to their fallen comrade,” Jordan read on the house floor.

Taylor also presented a flag to the family that flew over the U.S. Capital building in a wooden display box.

Frank Conway, the retired Chief of Fire Prevention Bureau and former superintendent of the Ohio Fire Academy attended and spoke.

“The Fort Loramie Fire company experienced the loss and pain each  and every one of you experiences when you lose a family member,” Conway said. “It cuts deep into your soul. It hurts. When you join the fire service, your family enlarges by quite a bit. When I started my remarks, I referred to Michael as my brother. Each and every one of these in uniform are my brother and sister.”