Day of Mourning ceremony held in Abbotsford

Annual event commemorates those who have lost their lives as a result of their jobs

Roses were placed on Tuesday morning at a memorial in Civic Plaza to remember those who have lost their lives in workplace accidents. Abbotsford was among 30 communities across the province taking part in National Day of Mourning events.

Roses were placed on Tuesday morning at a memorial in Civic Plaza to remember those who have lost their lives in workplace accidents. Abbotsford was among 30 communities across the province taking part in National Day of Mourning events.

Abbotsford was among 30 communities across B.C. hosting National Day of Mourning ceremonies on Tuesday, April 28.

The event in Abbotsford was held at Civic Plaza and included several presenters, a moment of silence and the laying of roses to remember those who have lost their lives as a result of their jobs.

Mayor Henry Braun said the event is held to not only remember those loved ones but to emphasize the need to strive for workplace health and safety.

He said 173 workers in B.C. lost their lives on the job in 2014.

Marie Clarke Walker of the Canadian Labour Congress referred to a work who died this year in Abbotsford.

Mike Kirkeby, 64, lost his life in an accident on Feb. 27 at Loewen Welding and Manufacturing when he was working on a solid manure spreader.

Walker said Kirkeby is survived by four children, one grandchild and one great-grandchild, and had been looking forward to his 65th birthday on March 18, when he was planning to ride a Harley-Davidson motorcycle he had been rebuilding.

After his death, his co-workers finished the rebuild.

“We come together to mourn workers like Mike,” Walker said at the Day of Mourning ceremony.

Also speaking at the event was Mel Camilli, who lost both his legs in a logging accident in 1987, and said he still has many difficult days.

“There’s many a night where in the dark, dark hours of the night that I still cry myself to sleep … It’s never over,” he said.

Other speakers at the event were: Doug MacDonald of WorkSafeBC; Brian Harder of the Fraser Valley Labour Council; Mark Benjamin of CUPE local 774; and Shirley Wilson, vice chair of the Abbotsford board of education.

The National Day of Mourning was initiated by the Canadian Labour Congress in 1984.