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County Workers’ Memorial Day planned for Saturday

The Chautauqua County Workers’ Memorial Committee will be holding its 20th Annual Workers’ Memorial Day on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Chautauqua County Workers’ Memorial Site at Erlandson Overview Park on Oak Hill Road in Frewsburg.

Workers’ Memorial Day is a day of remembering all of the men and women from Chautauqua County who have been killed on the job, in the line of duty, or died from job-related causes. This year’s ceremony will recognize over 160 individuals who have passed away on the job since the 1880s.

The event is free and open to the public, and attendees are strongly encouraged to follow CDC guidelines. This year’s event will feature keynote speaker Peter DeJesus, President of the Western New York Area Labor Federation. Also speaking will be PJ Wendel, Chautauqua County executive and Co-Chairman of the Chautauqua County Workers’ Memorial Committee; George Borrello, New York state senator; Andy Goodell, New York State Assemblyman; Eddie Sundquist, Mayor of the City of Jamestown; and Willie Rosas, mayor of the city of Dunkirk.

The ceremony will also include a special dedication of a bell in memory of Mary Lou Dunning, a former member of CSEA Local 807/6300 and Buffalo-Niagara Frontier Retirees Local 903 who passed away on October 16, 2019. This special dedication will be presented by Steve Healy, CSEA Region 6 President; Bonnie Peters, Chautauqua County Local 807 President and member of the Chautauqua County Workers’ Memorial Committee; Matt DeAngelo, CSEA Labor Relations Specialist Chautauqua County; and Rose Conti, CSEA Unit 03 Retirees Chautauqua County.

There will also be a plaque dedication to honor deceased members of the Chautauqua County Worker’s Memorial Committee: Hobart (Hobie) Rhienhart, Mike Piazza, Helen Sischo, and Joe Sweeny.

The Chautauqua County Workers’ Memorial Site is made possible through the cooperation of Chautauqua County Government, Chautauqua County Parks Commission, local labor organizations, and by donations from supporters.

“I encourage residents to join us … as we remember our fellow workers and loved ones who have lost their lives while carrying out their duties,” Wendel said. “It is by honoring them and their memory that we are constantly reminded about the importance of creating and promoting safe work environments for employees.”

Current members of the Chautauqua County Workers’ Memorial Committee are Wendel; Co-Chairman Doug Stock, President of Dunkirk Central Labor Council; Co-Chairman Dave Wilkinson, Jamestown Central Labor Council; Secretary and Treasurer Robert Dando Jr., National Conference of Firemen and Oilers SEIU 32BJ (retired); James Bickhart, Chairman Emeritus; Mary Ellen Decker, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT)–Dunkirk Teachers (Retired); Adam Dolce, Executive Director of the United Way of Northern Chautauqua County; Don Emhardt, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local #106; Hank Hoisington, CSEA Local #903/3; James Kurtz, CSEA Local #903/3; Peters; Walter Robertson, NYSUT-Dunkirk Teachers; Amy Rohler, Executive Director of the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County; Steve Skidmore, CSEA Local #807/6300; George Spitale, Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local #418; and Gary Swain, Operating Engineers Local #17.

For more information about the event, please contact the County Executive’s Office at (716) 753-4211.

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