“It’s a very sobering experience,” wife of highway worker killed on the job says of new memorial unveiled at NYS Fair

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– No matter how many years pass, October 28, 2016 is a day Sally Deming won’t ever be able to forget. 

“When you get that call your first reaction is no that’s not true, are you sure and that’s after the scream obviously.”

Sally Deming, widow of highway worker killed on the job

Her husband Rob was killed in the line of duty as a maintenance worker on the NYS Thruway. 

“Ironically he was the one always talking to new hires and telling them how important safety was,” Deming said.

Five years later and Ron’s life and the lives of over 50 other highway workers were remembered by the brand new New York State Department of Transportation Highway Workers Memorial at the New York State Fair. 

The memorial sits at the intersection of Hiawatha Ave and Broadway on the fairgrounds and Deming was there Sunday morning alongside Governor Kathy Hochul and numerous state and local leaders to dedicate the site. 

“It’s a very sobering experience, but our family couldn’t have been more grateful and proud of everyone that’s put this together,” Deming said.

DOT Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said this memorial has been in the works for quite some time and the design of the traffic cones, hard hats, boots and shovel was a team effort. 

“It really symbolizes in many ways the incredible amount of work that goes on to operate, maintain and literally construct our vast network of roads and bridges across the state,” she said. 

Deming said she hopes this memorial makes people stop and take pause to remember those that have lost their lives and to encourage drivers to think twice about checking a cell phone or being distracted.

“If you move six inches one way or another it could mean everything for that person that’s working on the ground, so move over that’s all, just move over,” she said. 

It could be the difference between life and death. 

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