On April 28th, every year, the Nation celebrates Workers’ Memorial Day. It is a day to honor those workers, who have been killed or injured on the job, to acknowledge the grievous suffering experienced by families and communities, and to recommit ourselves to the fight for safe and healthful workplaces for all workers.
In 2000, Terry Poplawski, a local community activist, brought this event to Mendocino County and started the task of raising awareness of workplace safety to the public. Five years later, The Workers’ Memorial Fund Committee was established for fundraising purposes to help families of workers killed when a paycheck suddenly is gone and most importantly, to let the family know that our Community cares about their loss. This group joined forces with Terry on April 28th each year working diligently to make the event very special and a memorable one to honor those killed and to raise money. The Workers’ Memorial Fund, under the umbrella of the Community Foundation of Mendocino County, provides immediate aide, with a one-time grant, to the families of workers killed in or from Mendocino County.
Over the past 9 years, with the help of many wonderful volunteers (speakers, food preparers, raffle item donors, family, friends and past board members); the Workers’ Memorial Fund has helped over 20 families. It is a great honor to serve on this committee and to help bring awareness to just how devastating a sudden death can be for family members. WE wish to extend heartfelt gratitude to all of you for continuing to help fulfill our Mission statement:
“To live in the space of an open heart and to show compassion to families who find themselves victims of workplace tragedies and are temporarily paralyzed both emotionally and often financially. With this fund, we hope to provide a moment of comfort and relief in regards to pending bills due to the lack of income during a time of unimaginable grief.”
Every year, we have tried something different hoping to bring participation that is more public to this event. Last year, the Workers’ Memorial Fund Committee made a difficult decision which is to separate the fundraising from the April 28th evening which honors workers. Instead, all money provided solely by the committee to put on the event, would be better served if put directly into the fund itself. We will continue with fundraisers, at a later date, so the funds will be there when needed during those very difficult times.
Thank you to everyone who has donated to the fund. As you can imagine, your donations are greatly appreciated by the families who have suffered the loss of a loved one at the workplace. Please continue to donate by either writing a check to the Community Foundation of Mendocino County with a memo indicating the Workers Memorial Fund and send it to 204 S. Oak St. Ukiah 95482 or you can donate on our website at workersmemorialfund.com. We have recently discovered that even though Workers Memorial Day is celebrated all over the world, we are the only County that has a fund to help our fallen workers families and for that distinction, we are very proud.
Terry will continue to bring public awareness to Workers Memorial Day but will be doing so in a scaled down manner. He will be hosting the Workers’ Memorial Day event, on Monday, April 28th at 5:30 pm at the Saturday Afternoon Clubhouse.
This year, with deep sadness, another name was added to the list of fallen workers with the loss of Deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino. Please join Terry in honoring him on April 28th.
Workers’ Memorial Fund Committee Members
Terry Poplawski, Jean Davis, Toni Martin, Tammy Ingle, Star Gilley, Shari McAsey