Widow shares message for Highway Work Zone Safety Awareness Week - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Widow shares message for Highway Work Zone Safety Awareness Week


A widow is taking a look back and sharing her message ahead of Highway Work Zone Safety Awareness Week.

Karen Burkhalter's husband was killed while on duty in a work zone for the Calumet County High Department.

Derrick Burkhalter was involved in a crash on Highway 114, nearly three years ago.

"My husband and I were friends since I was 12,” Burkhalter said. “So I never had a part of my adult life that I didn't have him in."

Derrick was the first a Calumet County Highway worker killed on duty.

"It was very hard, you know losing an employee of ours," Brain Glaeser, Calumet County Highway Commissioner, said

Karen wants it to be the last.

Her mission is building awareness about following the speed limit, not driving distracted, and moving over for emergency or maintenance vehicles through work zones.

"It's the piece of my husband that I can carry on, that's important,” Burkhalter said. “And it's an opportunity, I have to save, hopefully save somebody else."

Burkhalter will head to Washington DC next week to join members of the United Support and Memorial for Workplace Fatalities to discuss workplace safety.

"Like for our Representatives, when they’re voting on a bill or at a hearing, that they can take a step back and remember our personal stories," Burkhalter said.

She said she hopes her story serves as another reminder about who highway workers are: husbands, fathers, and much more.

"We all deserve to and to make it home at the end of the day," Burkhalter said.

Highway Work Zone Safety Awareness Week begins April 9.

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