PAYING TRIBUTE - Brad Vonkeman, Rebecca Orr and Tara Veer take part in the official ribbon cutting at the grand opening of the Fallen Worker Tribute at Bower Bonds June 25th. Carlie Connolly/Red Deer Express

WATCH: Red Deerians remember fallen workers

Fallen Workers Tribute set up in Bower Ponds

On June 25th Red Deerians came together at Bower Ponds for the grand opening of the Fallen Worker Tribute, which was handed over to the City of Red Deer.

The Tribute stands near the stage at Bower Ponds and is set up for those who have lost a loved one in a workplace tragedy.

One of those individuals present at the ceremony was Rebecca Orr, who lost her husband Lance James Orr to a workplace tragedy in May of 2009.

“I am incredibly honoured that I could be here today and it means a lot to have such an important memorial and hopefully it can help other families realize that they are not alone either,” said Orr.

Brad Vonkeman, chair of the Parkland Regional Safety Committee said they wanted to have something more visible for people to see as they are walking along the trails at Bower Ponds, to stop and think about those affected by such tragedy.

“This is a project that has been organized by volunteers, most of whom are safety professionals, and who work hard each day and try and keep our workers safe when they are at work so they can go home safe to their families at the end of each day,” said Vonkeman.

He added that Bower Ponds was the perfect location for this Tribute as their annual Steps For Life Walk takes place in the park each year, an organization that raises funds for families that have been impacted by workplace tragedies.

“We think this kind of structure is really important so that we can get more information out to the public about workers that have been impacted by workplace tragedies.”

For Orr, who resides in Olds, she takes it day by day, raising her and her late husband’s daughter Caitlin alone.

“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.”

Last year in Alberta, 166 people lost their lives on the job.

“Workplace safety isn’t just for those on the job. We all have a role to play in our schools, homes, cars and at work,” said Orr.

She added, “Let’s make our communities and our workplaces a safer place to be so that our children don’t have to worry about injuries, illnesses or deaths on the job.”

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