KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Some Chiefs fans drive to Arrowhead Stadium soon will include a trip along an interstate honoring a heroic former player.
The portion of Interstate 435 from Raytown Road to Missouri 350 is being named Joe Delaney Memorial Highway, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation.
Signs identifying the stretch of road named in Delaney's honor will be erected within the next several weeks, allowing for the production of the signs and possible delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A New York man created a petition to create a memorial highway for the former Chiefs player.
Adam Jassey spent a portion of his childhood in Kansas City and has now raised his own kids as members of Chiefs Kingdom. He even named his son Brett, after former Royals star George Brett.
Delaney was Jassey's childhood sports hero despite playing only two seasons for the Chiefs.
Delaney, a second-round pick in 1981, died in 1983 in his home state of Louisiana while trying to rescue drowning children despite the fact that he couldn't swim himself.
"Just warms my heart for someone to be looking up to Joe like that and thinking about him now and he was their hero back then and still (is) their hero today," Delaney's wife, Carolyn, said of Jassey's efforts. "It's just a great feeling to know that kids at that age — they remember their heroes and things like that, and Joe was one of them, out of all the people you pick Joe Delaney."
To apply for consideration of renaming the stretch of highway, Jassey needed to find a legislative sponsor and collect 100 signatures of Missouri residents who support the change along with permission from the family.
Missouri state Rep. Yolanda Young, who represents the 22nd District that includes east Kansas City, Missouri, sponsored the application.
The Missouri Department of Transportation sent Jassey a letter Monday, confirming that the Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight had approved the making of Joe Delaney Memorial Highway.
There will be a sign installed on northbound I-435 near the junction with Missouri 350 and a sign installed on southbound I-435 near the Raytown Road exit, reflecting the honor.