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Governor, Montana Department Of Transportation Dedicate Employee Memorial

Governor, Montana Department Of Transportation Dedicate Employee Memorial Governor, Montana Department Of Transportation Dedicate Employee Memorial

Tuesday, April 16, as part of National Work Zone Awareness Week, Governor Greg Gianforte joined the Montana Department of Transportation to honor department employees who have tragically passed away in service to the state of Montana.

“It is an honor to recognize this tribute to the men and women who have passed away while doing this noble job,” Gov. Gianforte said. “No words can fully cover the pain and sacrifice of the families of those recognized through this memorial but let us take this as an opportunity to come together in sorrow and lift them up.”

At the ceremony, Melissa Dykeman, a widow who tragically lost her husband, Jeff, in a work zone crash in 2018, shared her story.

“Our lives will forever be affected. We will always have an empty seat at our table for Jeff,” Melissa said. “You have a choice. Please don’t choose to do drugs or drink alcohol and get behind the wheel.”

National Work Zone Awareness Week is an annual spring campaign held at the start of construction season to encourage safe driving through highway work zones. During the ceremony, MDT leadership shared that from 2017 to 2022 there were nearly 1,000 crashes in work zones in Montana, with nearly 10 percent involving an impaired driver. “These statistics show that attention is needed at all times especially when you’re behind the wheel,” said Rob Stapley, MDT Rail Transit and Planning Division administrator.

The memorial was dedicated in honor of the following MDT employees who tragically lost their lives on the job:

•Gerald Williams, Glendive District Maintenance, 1964

•Vernon Winship, Great Falls Equipment Shop, 1966

•Harry Paulsen, Glendive District Maintenance, 1970

•Gary Flaten, Glendive District Maintenance, 1980 (of Wolf Point)

•Baron 'Skip' Gray, Missoula District Maintenance, 1983

•Rodney L. Phillips, Helena Traffic Engineer, 1986

•John Rife, Billings District Construction, 1988

•Duane 'Dewey' Novakovich, Glendive District Construction, 1991

•Gary Steffensmier, Great Falls Maintenance, 1996

•Eldon Patterson, Helena Equipment Shop, 1996

•Frank Broticky, Great Falls Maintenance, 2003

•Gerald C. Bratlien, Great Falls Right of Way, 2004

•Betty Canoy, Great Falls Right of Way, 2004

•Dixie DeCoudres, Glendive District Construction, 2011

•Jason Rolls, Missoula District Maintenance, 2015

•Jeffrey Dyekman, Billings District Construction, 2018 The memorial is located at MDT Headquarters, the Dave Manning Memorial Building, at 2701 Prospect Avenue in Helena.

To learn more about National Work Zone Awareness Week, visit https://ops.fhwa. awareness.htm.

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