Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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April 21, 2014

Worker safety focus of area event

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — Bringing people together for some family fun and a serious message is a way for a couple of Wynnewood and Pauls Valley widows to honor their late husbands.

LeeAnna Mann and Kari Smith have organized a community get-together for later this week in Wynnewood to honor their husbands, who both became fatalities of a 2012 explosion at the Wynnewood Refinery.

Called the Oklahoma Worker’s Remembrance Day Fundraiser, the free event open to anyone and everyone is scheduled from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 26 at the Wynnewood City Park.

“We’ll have an honorary day for these two men who passed away,” LeeAnna said.

“We want you to bring your families. We’ll have a few things for the kids.”

Some of the things planned are speakers, drawings, music, playground fun for kids maybe even with some inflatable rides.

Overall though the idea is to bring the community together for a bit of fun, while also raising awareness on the need to have all workplaces safe for the employees who work there.

Mann said nearly 100 workplace fatalities were reported in Oklahoma during the 2012 year, which includes their husbands’ deaths.

“We feel workplace safety is of utmost importance for everyone.”

That’s why all money raised at the event will go to the non-profit United Support and Memorial of Workplace Fatalities organization (USMWF).

“Both of us are members; Kari has helped with some legislation and went to Washington, D.C., with the organization. She’s working on a federal level, and I’m working on a state level,” Mann said about her work at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City.

“I’ve visited with legislators about workplace safety,” she said, specifically naming state Sen. Susan Paddack and state Rep. Charles McCall.

As for the upcoming event, LeeAnna said she and Kari considered a number of options for something meant to honor their husbands.

“My husband and Billy both were part of the Pauls Valley Gun Club,” LeeAnna said.

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