A stretch of I-80 could be renamed to honor fallen Sacramento-area Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee

Story by Molly Jarone, The Sacramento Bee

A Sacramento-area legislator introduced a proposal Tuesday to rename a portion of Interstate 80 after Roseville native Sgt. Nicole Gee, who was killed during the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021.

Assemblymember Joe Patterson, R-Rocklin, wrote Assembly Concurrent Resolution 126, which, if adopted, would name the stretch of I-80 between Douglas Boulevard and the junction of Highway 65 the Nicole Gee Memorial Highway.

The resolution was co-authored by state Sen. Roger Niello, R-Fair Oaks.

Gee, a graduate of Oakmont High School, was among the 13 U.S. service members who were killed by a suicide bomber at Hamid Karzai International Airport on Aug. 26, 2021.

Gee enlisted in the Marine Corps following her high school graduation and served with her husband, Jarod. Gee was assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 24 and deployed with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Gee became well-known following her death for a photo she posted to her social media showing her cradling a small Afghan child. She captioned the photo, “I love my job.”

“I saw the picture of Nicole in the news after the bombing,” Patterson said in a statement. “She was (in) uniform, holding an Afghan child around the same age as my youngest kid. You could see how much Nicole cared for the safety and well-being of a child she didn’t even know. I couldn’t shake that image and I knew I had to do something to honor her life.”

Patterson was elected to the California Assembly in November 2022 and started the highway dedication project shortly after, a spokesperson said in a statement.

“My district mourns for all those who die protecting our nation,” Patterson said. “We hold a special place in our hearts for Nicole, and I pray every time we drive by her memorial sign, we remember the joy she brought to everyone she knew, the light she was to others all around the world, and that we never forget the sacrifice she made for the people of this nation.”

The resolution will be voted on by the Assembly and state Senate during the current legislative session.