56 pairs of boots, topped with hard hats were lined up to represent fallen workers..
Darwin Newell, Maintenance Tech, places a rose at friend, Jake Baardson's, boots. He holds a photo of Baaradson taken minutes before his tragic accident.
Friends, family and co-workers were able to reflect on their loved ones who lost their lives on the road at the Washington State Department of Transportation Work Zone Memorial, Thursday, April 7. 56 sets of cones, hard hats and boots were assembled in the lobby of the transportation building to represent the WSDOT employees who have been killed in work zones since 1950. A display of photos and articles allowed a glimpse into the life of those who perished.
“It was as if each and every one that has been lost were standing there,” said Isabelle Williams, whose husband, Sam Williams, was killed 5 years ago. “It's difficult to do memorials and have them ‘stand out’, but you (WSDOT) did it.”
The event was an open-house affair, permitting personal reflection for those who wished to pay tribute at their own leisure. Single white roses were available for visitors to pay their respects.
“The presentation was very powerful,” said Joyce Norris, executive assistant. “I had an opportunity to stop by and see each worker represented and pause to reflect and say a silent thank you.”
At 2 p.m., uniformed troopers from the Washington State Patrol walked side-by-side along the “path of honor” and placed a bouquet of flowers at the foot of the display. Secretary Doug MacDonald, Transportation Commissioner Ed Barnes, and WSP Captain Tim Braniff all said a few words of condolence, along with Maintenance Tech Darwin Newell, who lost his co-worker, Jake Baardson, in a work zone collision in 2002.
“This is a sad reminder for everyone to slow down and think about what we’re doing out there,” said Newell. The memorial, which was open to the public, was aligned with “National Work Zone Awareness Week.”
As a part of National Work Zone Awareness Week, WSDOT hosted a Media event. The following media advisory was sent to the Media.