Hwy 56 near Bonham renamed after fallen first responder

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James Taylor was traveling down Hwy 56 on January 19, 2003, when the medic unit he was traveling in collided with a car traveling in the opposite direction.

Taylor was killed on impact.

This morning, the Fannin County Commissioners voted to name a stretch of Hwy 56 the James E. Taylor Memorial Highway.

"He's had quite a few honors given to him. But this has got to be the greatest of all of them," said Sandra Taylor, James' mother.

Taylor said she's proud of her son and the work he did. And she is proud to see him memorialized.

"I think it's a great tribute to him. And I'm very proud of Bonham and their fire department, and EMT," she said. "They're a great group of guys and gal, and I love them all very dearly."

Sandra describes her son as jolly.

"He was the clown of wherever he was, and would keep you laughing and in stitches at all times," she said.

Bonham Fire Chief Brad Nichols said humor is one of the things that made him good at his job.

"He'd take somebody down in the dumps, or feeling ill or injured, and was able to comfort them and treat them in a way that kept them in great spirits as well," he said.

Nichols said Taylor's partner, David Hale, survived the crash that killed Taylor.

Fannin County Judge Spanky Carter said Hale is the one who initiated the proposal.

"He came to the court and talked to one of our commissioners, and asked if we could name that stretch of Hwy down 56 after Mr. Taylor," he said.

Sandra Taylor said they told her on this past anniversary of James' death that they were proposing the idea to have the highway renamed for her son.

Carter said there was a big turnout at Monday morning's commissioners meeting.

"Lot of firefighters here, lot of people in support of this, and we're glad to do that, to honor Mr. Taylor," he said.

Sandra said she loves the support her son still receives.

"And I believe he knows it. I believe he's looking down on us and knows it," she said.

Carter said the issue now goes to the State for final approval.

He said they hope to have the sign in place by January, the 10th anniversary of Taylor's death.

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