Sculpture to Honor Four Fallen Workers of AC Garage Collapse

Wed March 10, 2004 - Northeast Edition

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (AP) A sculpture memorializing union workers killed on the job — including the victims of an Oct. 30 parking garage collapse — is headed for the Boardwalk.

The work, by Denver sculptor Thomas Jay Warren, will consist of an 8-ft. tall bronze likeness of a construction worker that reaches out to touch a wall engraved with the names of tradesmen who have died on the job since the first Atlantic City casino opened in 1978. It will be unveiled April 30.

“I think it would be a great idea on the Boardwalk because at least it would be something that wouldn’t be forgotten,” said Nancy Wittland, of Pleasantville.

Wittland’s husband, Michael, was one of four ironworkers killed in the Oct. 30 garage collapse at Tropicana Casino and Resort.

The wall with the names of 21 fallen workers already exists. It was erected in a small park at Arkansas and Arctic avenues in 1998, but is being moved to make way for a midtown shopping area now under construction.

The names of the Tropicana collapse victims will be added, along with Warren’s sculpture, before the entire workers’ memorial is placed on the Boardwalk, in front of Boardwalk Hall.

“It will bring our issues to light,” said Roy Foster, president of the Atlantic-Cape May County AFL-CIO Central Labor Council. “We’re not just numbers. It’s safety first. This will just make you stop and remember what’s important.”

Approximately half the $95,000 cost of the bronze workman’s likeness has been raised through donations by unions, politicians and others, Foster said. Casinos will be asked to make donations, too.

Donations may be sent to Workers Memorial c/o the AFL-CIO Central Labor Council, PO Box 1118, Hammonton, NJ, 08037. The council can be reached by telephone at 609/704-8351.