'Do What He Would Do, Smile': Portion of I-15 Dedicated to Fallen Escondido Firefighter - NBC Bay Area

'Do What He Would Do, Smile': Portion of I-15 Dedicated to Fallen Escondido Firefighter

Cory Iverson died of smoke inhalation after fighting the Thomas Fire in 2017



    Gas Tax Repeal Initiative to Go Before California Voters
    Cory Iverson, 32, with his wife, Ashley, and daughter.

    A portion of Interstate 15 has officially been named after a local firefighter killed after battling one of the largest fires in state history.

    Cory Iverson was part of a strike team with Cal Fire San Diego on the front lines of the Thomas Fire in Fillmore, California, that ultimately covered nearly 282,000 acres. On Dec. 14, 2017, Cory Iverson died of smoke inhalation and thermal injuries, according to the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Officer.

    Now, the 32-year-old Escondido man has been given a new honor for his sacrifice – the CalFire Firefighter Cory Iverson Memorial Highway.

    His memorial highway spans roughly four and a half miles from I-78 to Via Rancho Parkway.

    "Cory did fulfill his destiny, and he is not finished. He has made a name for himself bigger than he ever dreamed of and is changing lives around the world because of the man he was," Ashley Iverson, Cory Iverson’s wife, said at the road’s dedication ceremony Saturday.

    Cory Iverson leaves behind his wife and two daughters – one of who he never got to meet.

    "I can still hear him which is why I can't quite grasp the reality that he's no longer with us,” Ashley Iverson said. “Hearing him is not always in my thoughts, rather sometimes his words come in the most beautiful way, through song."

    Cory Iverson’s family also said seeing the freeway sign might be painful at times but it's a great honor.

    "When you pass these signs please do what he would do, smile. Smile because he sees you. Smile because of the good he has done for you. Smile because we know someone cool enough to have a freeway named after him. And, smile because of the love that continues to surround you," Ashley Iverson said.

    Ashley Iverson started the Iverson Foundation for Active Awareness. The foundation helps firefighters and their families deal with mental health concerns. Ashley Iverson said it was a cause close to her husband's heart.

    Get the latest from NBC Bay Area anywhere, anytime
    • Download the App

      Available for IOS and Android