MDOT honors fallen workers at memorial ceremony
Published 7:00 pm Thursday, April 14, 2022
Forty-eight fallen employees of the Mississippi Department of Transportation were honored this week in a ceremony at MDOT’s Administration building in Jackson.
Families and friends of these employees who lost their lives while working to maintain the state’s highways were present for the ceremony and reception.
MDOT Chief Engineer Brian Ratliff read aloud the employees’ names.
“It is very sad that we have to hold these ceremonies as each year we have incidents our employees are involved in due to the dangers of working in such an unpredictable environment,” said Central Transportation Commissioner Willie Simmons. “This is a way of bringing the families together to say how much we appreciate you and the services that your loved one gave. It is also an opportunity to send a message to all motorists that when you drive reckless in our work zones, you put yourselves and our workers in harm’s way.”
To call attention to the life-and-death issues facing workers and the public in work zones, Gov. Tate Reeves proclaimed April 11-15 as “Work Zone Awareness Week” in Mississippi. From distracted driving to speeding, Mississippi highway workers understand that part of their workplace safety rests with the traveling public.
Work zone related crashes have continued to trend in the wrong direction in recent years. In 2020, 774 fatal crashes in work zones occurred nationally, resulting in 857 total work zone fatalities. Five of those were in Mississippi. Work zone safety awareness is not only designed for the safety of roadside workers, but also drivers themselves, as approximately 85 percent of all work zone related fatalities were the driver or passenger.
“Each individual’s name that was just called should not have been on this list,” said Commissioner Simmons to family members. “Believe me when I say as a Commissioner that this is a family and that you, too, will forever be family with this department. We are with you today and in the future. This will always be an organization that is here for you. We thank you for what your family member did for the Department of Transportation and the State of Mississippi.”