SCDOT Honors Fallen Workers

With a memorial wall in Columbia

South Carolina Radio Network
April 27, 2018 - 3:35 pm

The names of 83 people are on a new memorial wall outside the South Carolina Department of Transportation headquarters in Columbia. Those 83 people lost their lives while working on South Carolina’s roads from 1925 until January of this year.

SCDOT gathered the families of those 83 workers to help unveil the SCDOT Workers Memorial Wall at a ceremony in Columbia on Friday.

“These 83 honored members of our family will always be in our thoughts and will forever remain in our hearts,” Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall said.

Then she offered them words of comfort.

“Today is a somber reminder that when the unthinkable happens it has a profound impact on families forever,” she said. “Just know that we are here today to wrap our arms around you and say ‘We’ve got you.'”

The ceremony included the reading of each name on the wall, followed by the ringing of a bell. As each name was read, surviving members of the family stood.

“This that we’re doing today is another reflection of how the people of South Carolina are different,” Governor Henry McMaster said. “We’re like a big family.”

Robert Webb and his wife take a rubbing of the plaque memorializing Robert’s father, Edsel Webb

The son of one name listed on the wall laid a wreath in their memory. “It means a lot,” Robert Webb, the son of Edsel C. Webb, said. “It’s kind of closure to my family.”

The elder Webb was killed while working along a road in Greenville on November 17, 1970. Robert Webb went on to fulfill a promise he made to his father just a week before he died.

“I remember telling my father that I would fulfill all of his dreams,” he said. “One of his dreams was to retire from where he worked, where he died, 18 years. Well, I’m here to fulfill that dream . . . it’s an honor to be here to represent Edsel C. Webb.”

Webb’s dream was to study math in college and retire from the SCDOT. That’s just what Robert did.

“That’s when I stepped in and said, ‘Daddy, with all the dreams that you wanted, I will fulfill those dreams.’ I did,” he said. “I went to college, I retired from the military. I came here working at the SCDOT going on 28 years and I’m fulfilling that dream of getting his retirement.”

Webb said it was an honor to place the wreath at the memorial, but “That wreath was pretty heavy! I didn’t expect it to be that heavy,” he laughed. “It was an honor. It’s good to see my father’s name up here.”

“We have a lot of good people who worked with this agency and they did very well,” Webb said. “In doing this, you didn’t forget them and we just honor them and that was the purpose. It was like closure. And a lot of people like to have closure when they have the loss of a loved one.”

During the opening prayer, Chairman of the SCDOT Commission Ben Davis Jr. had a message for South Carolina drivers: “We pray that this particular memorial also will encourage South Carolinians, drivers from all over in our state, to drive more carefully in work zones. To let them work. And let them live.”

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