M-57 renamed after soldier; family needs help paying for two road signs

Posted at 5:57 PM, Jan 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-21 00:16:15-05

Around 8:50 p.m., the $1,000 goal was surpassed. Family says, the remainder will go towards a scholarship in Prentler's name.

MONTCALM COUNTY, Mich. -- M-57 through Montcalm County has been renamed the "Joey Prentler Memorial Highway."

The fallen soldier's aunt started this Gofundme page to help pay for two commemorative road signs. MDOT will put them up.

Prentler's mother, Tammy, said the two signs will cost $500 each.

“So far, we’re up to... $535 on it. So it’s going slow. It’s been 28 days since we started it," she explained.

Army specialist Joey Prentler died in Afghanistan in October 2010. The 20-year-old was killed by a roadside bomb.

Tammy Prentler takes memories of her oldest son, Joseph, wherever she goes. She wears a military dog tag with her late son's picture around her neck.

At home, paintings paying tribute to the army specialist line her living room walls.

"They're nice. It's not having him here, but it's the effort that everybody takes out of their time," Prentler said.

As time passes, Joey would be turning 25 soon. The Montcalm County mom does her best to honor her son's memory, including a college scholarship in his name.

In January 2014, Prentler said her brother-in-law approached state representative Rick Outman. He requested Outman introduce legislation to name part of M-57 in his nephew Joey's honor. It's an area where he grew up.

“He figured all the roads are being named after officers of the law, having fallen in the line of duty, why not a fallen soldier?” Prentler said.

A year after that conversation, Tammy Prentler recently got the news she was hoping for. The bill was now law.

“It’s been one thing after another to try to figure out how to raise money to get the signs," Prentler said.

Again, the family is more than halfway to their goal. Prentler said she wishes she can do more to honor her son, but every little bit helps, including a memorial highway.

Prentler said, “It means no one will forget who he was. He was everything. He was the heart and soul of our family. He made everybody laugh.”

If you're interested in donating, you can find the Gofundme link here. Prentler is also looking to fund another scholarship in her son's name. She said donations for that can be sent to the American Legion in Carson City.

Two fundraisers are planned: 

What: All-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner and live auction; $10

When: April 18th, Dinner - 4:30-6:30 p.m., Live auction - 7 p.m.

Where:  American Legion in Carson City


What: Craft and vendor show/fundraiser

When: April 25th

Where: Sheridan Community Center