Jefferson City – The Missouri Department of Labor held a somber ceremony in the Capitol to honor state workers who were killed on the job in the last year.
“We’re here to mourn them and, more importantly, we’re here to honor them,” Department Director Ryan McKenna told the families of some of the fallen workers who were present for the April 22 ceremony. “We’re here to make sure they aren’t forgotten. We haven’t forgotten them.”
Eighty-three workers died on the job in 2014, according to the Department of Labor. The 13 families in attendance were given a Dogwood sapling and a flag which had flown above the Missouri Capitol.
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle joined McKenna, including House Minority Leader Jake Hummel (D-St. Louis) (IBEW Local 1), Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Glendale) and Sen. David Pearce (R-Warrensburg) and Rep. Jacob Hummel, D-St. Louis, joined McKenna and spoke to the families, thanking them for the service of their loved ones.
“This solemn occasion should cause us all to take a moment and reflect on what’s most important to us,” Schmitt said.
The Boone County Fire Protection District Pipes and Drums provided an extended rendition of “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes while a video tribute played on a projector featuring brief words of affection from family members of the fallen. The 83 workers were employed in a variety of positions throughout the state. The youngest of the honored workers was 22 years old.
McKenna told The Missouri Times that the Department of Labor hoped to be able to construct a permanent monument on the State Capitol grounds in the coming years, but needed more funds and an official location designated by the Office of Administration. The Worker Memorial Fund is a long way from having enough funds to build a monument, McKenna said, and department officials were currently exploring the best way to beef up the fund and begin construction.
The Department of Labor hosts the memorial ceremony in the State Capitol each year.
Until enough funds are made available to build a physical memorial, a video is made to create a virtual memorial to honor the fallen Missouri workers and their families.
Until enough funds are made available to build a physical memorial, a video is made to create a virtual memorial to honor those Missouri workers and their families.
A Workers Memorial Fund has been established to create a permanent memorial for all workers who suffered a job related death or injuries that resulted in a permanent disability while on the job in Missouri.
When sufficient funds accumulate, the memorial will be located on the grounds of the State Capitol.
For more information, or to make a contribution, write to: Workers’ Memorial Fund, Attn: Office of Administration, 301 West High Street, Room 570, Jefferson City, MO 65101.
(Information for this story from the Missouri Department of Labor and the Missouri Times.)