Boonville honors workers hurt on the job

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It’s hard to ignore a gorgeous Friday in April, and maybe even harder to not clock out of work early. But this is one seldom respected.

There’s a special place in the heart of Boonville Mayor Charlie Wyatt for this weekend, as an international day to remember is honored early in Boonville.

“April 28th is a very important date to me,” says Wyatt. “A lot of horrible things happen to people on the job.”

There are 150 people across the country today whose shift won’t end, and they won’t go home. For this blue-collared mayor, there may not be a day more important.

“We have made great progress!” Wyatt told the crowd gathered at Johnson Park in the town square. But there’s still a lot of room to improve.

Last year, 178 people died in Indiana from work-related accidents or injuries.

Fire Chief Steven Byers knows the risks and he knows it’s his job to keep Boonville’s firefighters safe.

“When you come to work, it’s always in the back of your mind because you don’t know what you’re going to encounter on the next call,” he says. “It’s something a lot of people don’t even think about.”

Wyatt worked for decades at Alcoa and lost a couple of co-workers along the way.

“I’ll always remember talking to that guy and we were going to catch up a little later,” Wyatt remembers. “Later never happened.”

He’s pushing state officials for more safeguards and protections so more families aren’t torn apart.

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(This story was originally published April 27, 2018)

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