Work Zone Memorial Plaque
State employees gather to honor the fallen at the Work Zone Memorial ceremony.
Dan Mathis, Federal Highway Administration, honors fallen highway workers with a poem he wrote, "Let us Never Forget".
(L ro R) Betty Bombardier, family member to Eino Matila; Sam Jr., Nicole and Belle Williams, family of Sam Williams; Frank Newboles, Work Zone Traffic Engineer; and Randy Bateman.
A light rain added to the misty eyes of the crowd at the fourth annual Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Work Zone Memorial ceremony held Wednesday, May 5. WSDOT employees, family members and friends gathered to honor those who lost their lives while providing services for the citizens in Washington State.
Gummada Murthy, Maintenance and Operations Director, opened the ceremony by reflecting on the purpose of the event – to honor those killed in work zone related accidents, as well as remind everyone of the risk our highway workers face as we approach the summer construction season.
Dan Mathis, FHWA, offered up this moving poem honoring the fallen.
Let Us Never Forget
Let us never forget.
They were fathers and mothers, sisters
Grandparents, daughters and sons.
They were our friends.
They went before their time
Just doing their job
Workin in work zones and making a
Doing what they loved.
They were serving the public
Improving mobility and safety for all
Theirs was the greatest sacrifice
Let us never forget.
- Dan Mathis, 05-05-04
John Conrad, Asst. Secretary of Transportation; Dan Mathis, FHWA; Glen Cramer, WSP Captain; Frank Newboles, State Work Zone Engineer; and Gary Demich, former WSDOT employee and cousin of fallen employee, briefly addressed the audience, each somberly honoring t hose who’ve passed and showing admiration for those who work on the highways on a daily basis.
“The deaths of these workers shocked us and left a void in our community,” said Cramer. “The positive is that the void bonds us for a common commitment to make highways safe for the users and those who work on them.”
There wasn’t a dry eye among the spectators when Belle Williams, widow to Southwest Region employee Sam Williams, thanked WSDOT for the ceremony. “Thank you for remembering today D.O.T.,” said Williams. “Because we remember everyday.”
The sun came out just long enough for each of the 56 WSDOT employees who’ve died in work zones to be remembered symbolically by the placement of a white carnation at the foot of the Work Zone Memorial Stone. The stone is located in the courtyard of WSDOT’s headquarters building.