AMES (MCT) — A new monument, built in honor of the Iowa Department of Transportation’s “most precious asset,” was dedicated Monday at a ceremony at the DOT headquarters in Ames.
Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds helped lead the dedication ceremony for the new DOT employee memorial located on the grounds of the DOT administration building at the corner of Grand Avenue and Lincoln Way.
Built of limestone slabs constructed in the shape of the DOT emblem, the monument features the names of 36 former employees who lost their lives while on the job.
Work on the monument, which was designed by DOT support services design staff, began last August and landscaping was added this spring.
DOT director Paul Trombino said DOT employees are the department’s “most important and precious asset.”
“But, as with any asset, we must work hard to protect them,” Trombino said. “Without our employees, travel in Iowa as we know it would not be possible.”
Trombino said the organization has consistently worked to make things safer for DOT employees.
“The work zones have gotten safer, the clothes have gotten brighter, inspection processes securer,” Trombino said. “Collectively, our greatest accomplishment going forward as one DOT team would be to never add another name to this memorial.”
Branstad said the state has come a long way in improving safety for employees, but “there’s still much to be done.”
Branstad said more than 20,000 workers are injured in construction zones each year across the country, which is a “sobering reminder” that there’s more that can be done.
Branstad said all motorists can help by reducing distractions while driving and slowing down on the roadway, especially in work zones. Branstad also asked all employees to use “best safety practices” while on the job, to watch out for each other and to attend routine safety meetings.
Friends and family of those being honored were asked to come forward and receive a flower and a token as a DOT employee read the 36 names on the monument.
The oldest name was from 1953, and the most recent was from 2011.
David Fleming traveled from Poweshiek County with his wife and sister for Tuesday’s dedication. Fleming’s father, Stuart Fleming, died while working for the DOT in 1977.
©2014 the Ames Tribune, Iowa
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