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Beulah Highway dedicated to Vietnam War veteran who grew up there but never returned

Posted at 5:26 PM, Jul 06, 2024

BEULAH — A 14-mile stretch along State Highway 78 near Beulah, now dedicated to a Vietnam War veteran who grew up there, but never returned home.

It's been 57 years since Private First Class Thomas Michael Hanratty, or 'Mike,' went missing in action.

About a hundred people gathered at the memorial ceremony on Saturday.

"Our family thanks everyone from the bottom of our heart, Mike's memory is now home," said his cousin Dan.

Mike's sister, Bessie, said the ceremony is over a year in the making and is the closure her family has been needing.

"I thought at first it would be kind of tough driving by here but no it's like saying, 'Hi, Mike," said Bessie.

She told me Mike joined the Marines then got deployed to Vietnam. His helicopter crew was shot down and no one was found.

"No remains were visible, no pieces of the helicopter were seen, it was only a blackened site," said one gentleman who was part of the rescue efforts.

"I was in high school when Mike went missing in combat, I remember that, I remember the articles in the Chieftain and his name has stuck with me through the years," said another speaker.

"Hanratty is the only person from the small community of Beulah and one of several from Pueblo County to be listed as missing in action," said a state senator.

There will be two signs marking Mike's memorial highway from Pueblo to Beulah. Bessie said they should be installed this month.

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