Gone but not forgotten

PlaqueFor many Iowa Department of Transportation employees, the work performed everyday can be very dangerous. Over the years, 36 Iowa DOT workers have been killed in the line of duty. Recently, Governor Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, and about 200 guests attended a ceremony to dedicate an employee memorial at the Iowa DOT headquarters in Ames.

During the ceremony, Director Paul Trombino III said, “Throughout our history, the department has constantly worked to improve safety standards while on the job. Work zones have gotten larger, clothes have gotten brighter, inspection standards have gotten more rigid. These things are all done for one primary reason … to protect our people. Nothing is more important than the safety of the men and women who show up to work every single day to make sure that those travelling through Iowa get where they need to go. Those 36 men and women who lost their lives because of the work they did for the State of Iowa, remind me that our work to improve safety is never done.”

Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds remarked that the public may not truly understand how dangerous the work done by DOT employee can be. She said, “They must complete their jobs as vehicles pass by them at high speeds. They are responsible for operating incredibly heavy equipment and work at heights that many of us wouldn’t dare venture. They are on our snow and ice covered roads at all hours of the day while we are tucked into the comforts of our homes. They put their own lives at risk to a­ssure that we have safe and comfortable trips across our state.”

Governor Branstad rounded out the speakers for the day by noting that more than 20,000 workers are injured in construction work zones every year. That’s one worker every 14 minutes or 96 every single day. He reminded the crowd that it is everyone’s responsibility to add to the safety solution by avoiding distractions behind the wheel that can take your attention off the road, wearing seat belts, and slowing down, especially in work zones.

He also had a personal note for employees. He said, “As employees, we need to be mindful of our surroundings and watch out for each other. If you’re pushing yourself hard on the job, listen to your body and take breaks when needed. Attend routine safety meetings and always use best safety practices.” 10431316_716978905015787_2607867521493449572_o

Following the speakers, Iowa DOT’s Operations and Finance Division Director Lee Wilkinson read the names of each of the fallen workers and presented a flower and framed certificate listing the names of those on the memorial to any family or friends who were in attendance. After the reading of the names, Director Trombino, Gov. Branstad, and Lt. Gov. Reynolds laid a wreath at the memorial site.



Director Trombino completed his comments by saying, “Without our employees, travel in Iowa as we know it wouldn’t be possible. Their hard work, dedication, and innovative spirit are the heart of our state’s transportation system. In fact, our employees are the Iowa DOT’s most important, and precious, asset."

 Watch a 20-minute video of the ceremony at

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