By Betsy Scott @ReporterBetsy on Twitter

Fallen Mentor Police Officer Mathew J. Mazany is a step closer to being memorialized on the stretch of freeway where he lost his life.

State officials announced Feb. 13 that House Bill 276 passed the Ohio House and Senate, allowing for a portion of Route 2 to be named for Mazany.

The process was set in motion in January, when Mentor City Council passed a
making the dedication request of the state legislature.

“The passing of HB 276 will recognize the ultimate sacrifice Officer Mazany paid in the performance of his duty as a Mentor police officer,” Chief Ken Gunsch said. “The renaming of this section of (State Route) 2 honors Officer Mazany and also honors all other police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

“Hopefully, this will serve as a reminder of the importance of moving over and slowing down when safety vehicles are stopped on the side of the highway.”

The plan is to rename the area where he was struck and killed by an impaired motorist Brian Anthony of Kirtland at about 1 a.m., June 24, 2018. The hit-and-run crash occurred eastbound, just east of Route 306.

Mazany, 41, served the department “with distinction for over 14 years and was the recipient of the department’s Exceptional Service Award,” according to the legislation passed by council.

The measure now goes to the governor for his signature to become law.

“As civilians, most of us cannot really appreciate the tremendous risks first-responders face on our behalf,” said State Rep. John Rogers, D-Mentor-on-the-Lake. “The naming of this section of highway is but a small token in recognition and honor of Officer Mazany’s life and sacrifice.”

The original bill was introduced exactly one year ago.

“It is important for us to remember those who have given so much of themselves to the people of Ohio,” State Rep. Jamie Callender, R-Concord Township, said. “My colleagues have my thanks for helping to honor the sacrifice of this beloved and respected, long-term Mentor officer.”

Mentor City Manager Ken Filipiak acknowledged the state representatives’ efforts, including those of state Sens. John Eklund, R-Munson Township, and Kenny Yuko, D-Richmond Heights.

“While the loss of Officer Mazany will always be with us, we can remember with pride the commitment he gave to this community as we travel that section of road,” Filipiak said. “The city is working closely with representatives from our police and fire departments on plans for a permanent memorial on the site of the Municipal Complex that will also honor the memory of those first-responders who gave their lives in service to the Mentor community. Details on that will be released later this year.”

In April, 25-year-old Anthony was sentenced to the maximum 11 1/2 years in prison Lake County Common Pleas Court Judge John P. O’Donnell.