RUMFORD — United Steelworkers Local 900 will conduct a Workers Memorial Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Sunday, April 28, at the USW Hall on Route 108 in Rumford’s Smith Crossing neighborhood.

Among the speakers are Sen. John Patrick, D-Rumford, Rep. Sheryl Briggs, D-Mexico, and Don Berry, president of the Maine AFL-CIO. The ceremony will be followed with a lunch of steamed hot dogs and refreshments.

Workers Memorial Day is Sunday, April 28, and it is recognized all over the country, and there are ceremonies all over the state, but as far as I know, this will be the first actual, physical memorial in Maine,” Scot Grassette, USW Local 900 Executive Board trustee and safety advocate, said Tuesday in an email.

During the ceremony, Grassette said the names of the 20 to 21 workers who died in Maine in 2012 will be read and a bell tolled after each name.

“When people work, some people die and we’re trying to recognize them,” Grassette said. “You shouldn’t have to die making a living. Everybody wants to go home the same way they came in.”

Grassette said Wednesday afternoon at the hall that NewPage Inc. donated a nearly 1-ton dryer gear from the old No. 11 paper machine for the physical memorial.

“We’d like to say a special thanks to NewPage for donating the equipment,” Ron Hemingway, a Local 900 officer, said.

Additionally, the union bought a $600 bronze plaque from members’ donations collected in the last decade to be mounted on the gear to honor and remember all workers who have died on the job.

The physical memorial isn’t built yet, “but we have all the parts and some volunteers to assemble it sometime this spring or summer,” Grassette said.

He said the dryer gear, which used to turn a “can” through which steam was fed to dry paper, signifies ‘industry.’ A bull gear will also be a part of the memorial.

“Steam and the mesh of gears were job hazards, so the whole intent of (Sunday’s ceremony) for us is to look at how bad things were in the past and look at how far we’ve come to now, and to set goals for in the future,” Grassette said.

On Wednesday afternoon, Grassette, of Rumford, and fellow officers and union stewards Ron Hemingway of Dixfield, Tom Benedix of Mexico, Chris Dickson of Rumford and Gary Hemingway of Canton discussed how to mount the bronze plaque on the dryer gear.

The gear will be stood up and mounted on a cement block when completed.

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