ITD unveils memorial to honor fallen workers

An important part of the department’s emphasis on our employees includes remembering our past, and paying tribute to employees who paved the way and set the stage for our current workforce to thrive. Included in that list are several dozen employees who died in the line of duty or were otherwise “on the job” with the department at the time of their passing.

Employees gathered in the Headquarters lobby Tuesday, Feb. 5 to unveil the memorial to fallen workers.

Check out the video from the "Fallen Workers" ceremony.

The idea for this memorial wall came up after the fatality of Matt Kime last year in District 4.

There are 30 names on the list. There are certainly more names than are on this memorial, but we only went as far back as the 1960’s, which is when the interstate system was built and is therefor considered the beginning of the “modern age” of transportation. Any records prior to then are spotty at best.

It was also challenging to determine who died while on the job versus those who died that happened to be employed by ITD but were not on the job at the time of their passing.

We scoured old newsletters, looked at obituaries, and sent lists to those in each district who have been around for years and have institutional memories to compare our list against. In the end, a list of 30 people emerged.

Here's a link to the book with the list of names,

Several key individuals and groups were involved in putting together the memorial. Shirley Wentland’s inquiry started the ball rolling, ITD’s Safety Team approved the idea and gave it legs, and several folks had a hand from there. Aeronautics cut out the wooden disks and made the “In remembrance” sticker, Todd Sorensen and the Building Services staff put everything up in the HQ Lobby, I researched the names through Safety, the districts, old newsletters, and department old timers. Neal Murphy really spearheaded this effort, though, and in several cases went out-of-pocket with his own money to get this done.

Even with all of our research, we understand that there will be changes or updates to the list. That’s one reason the booklet has a page for your written notes or memories of each person. Some employees may even have earlier articles or obituaries to add, or additional names for the book. It is meant to be an evolving document.

Please send updates to Neal Murphy, Randall Danner, or Reed Hollinshead. We’ll keep a file and update the list regularly.

Honoring those who set the pace for us is just the right thing to do. Scores of transportation workers before us helped to establish solid footing for us to be standing where we are today.

Headquarters was determined to be the best location for this memorial, but this is really for employees statewide.

Accordingly, copies of the booklet will be forwarded to each district so that they can display it as well for their workers.

All 30 disks represent an individual we lost on the job – the names and districts are not on them because they were all part of the bigger ITD family. The booklet contains those details, though.

They paved the way for us. ITD remembers.

Published 02-05-19