The Fallen Worker Tribute in Bower Ponds officially opened on Monday as a reminder of the families affected by workplace fatalities, injuries and occupational illness.
Located near Bower Ponds Main Stage, the pergola and picnic tables offer a place where people can pause, reflect, and recognize the importance of improving health and safety conditions for workers.
Rebecca Orr, of Olds, whose husband Lance James Orr died on May 8, 2009 at a Calgary construction site, told her family’s story before the ribbon cutting ceremony.
“I am incredibly honoured I could be here today. It means a lot to have such an important memorial and hopefully it can help other families realize that they’re not alone either, and hopefully will bring other people together,” Orr said.
Her husband died a few months before their daughter Caitlin was born.
Orr said she doesn’t want what happened to her family to happen to others.
“My heart breaks for those who continue to join this dreadful club. Every time I hear about another workplace death I feel angry and frustrated that this continues to happen.”
She wanted families to know there is help available.
“Take it day by day. It’s never going to go away. You’ll fall into a new normal, but just know you’re never alone,” Orr said.
The Alberta Construction Safety Association’s Parkland Regional Safety Committee and Threads of Life were instrumental in developing the Fallen Worker Tribute that was funded through cash and in-kind donations from local non-profit safety organizations, businesses and individuals.
Brad Vonkeman, chair of Parkland Regional Safety Committee, said the tribute was built to help bring awareness to workers who are hurt or worse on the job.
“We think this kind of structure is really important so we can get more information out to the public about workers that are impacted by workplace tragedies,” Vonkeman said.
“Sometimes it’s an injury. Sometimes it’s a fatality. But either way it impacts a family and makes it challenging for those families to move forward.”