PennDot honored highway workers killed in the line of duty on Thursday, and paid special tribute to a local man who lost his life in February. Eighty-eight PennDot employees have been killed in the line of duty since 1970. The most recent was 45-year-old Robert Gensimore from Warriors Mark, a foreman at District 9 in Hollidaysburg.
The ceremony took place at a traveling memorial outside the District 9 office, honoring PennDot workers killed in the past 48 years, and a smaller display with the names of eight workers from the local office.
PennDot Secretary Leslie Richards told the crowd , that the most recent death , that of the man everyone knew as “Bobby” was a tragedy felt throughout the entire organization.
Gensimore was killed while setting up road flares in Blair County when a car slid out of control. At the ceremony, PennDot unveiled a sketch of a rock monument to be placed in his honor and retired his foreman number 27.
The day was bittersweet for Gensimore’s family.
“Today was Bobby’s birthday, but that makes it a little bit hard but like I told you we’re Christians and we’re going to see him again, and that makes it better, so it does,” said Gensimore’s father Harold.
Speakers said they hope the memorial stands as a reminder to drivers that PennDot employees are living, breathing people with families that care for them. That why it’s important to slow down and be extra cautious when traveling through work zones and in bad weather.
The PennDot Workers’ Memorial will remain in Hollidaysburg through May 9, and will then travel on to the department’s offices in Huntingdon, Fulton, Bedford, Cambria, and Somerset counties.