Right Place, Right Time
May 20, 2013: When Xavier Graves, right, a crew member with the Central Regional Operations Center, showed up to work on March 14, he didn’t expect to become a hero. The day’s job had taken him to the Brandon Creek neighborhood in VDOT's Richmond District, where he was studying sign replacement.
Nearby, a home health nurse struggled to reach her patients in their residence. Her key wasn’t working in their door and she had been waiting on help for over an hour. Without their response, the nurse worried something was terribly wrong.
The nurse saw Xavier and quickly flagged him down. He was able to get her key to work. Upon entering the house, they found the couple.
The woman was on the floor and her husband had also fallen in their bedroom. He had hit his head and Xavier was able to help the nurse lift him off the floor.
The nurse contacted the couple’s daughter and emergency medical services and Xavier stayed to assist until they arrived.
The couple’s daughter says her father thought Xavier was an angel. Xavier just feels thankful for being in the right place at the right time. “I’d want anybody to do that for me,” Xavier said.
Beautifying the Road to the Future
May 3, 2013: In celebration of Earth Day, a group of sixth grade students recently planted trees along the Hawks Nest section of the Route 121 Coalfields Expressway in Buchanan County in VDOT's Bristol District.
The event was the group’s ninth Arbor Day and was themed “Beautifying the Road to the Future.”
Sponsors included the Department of Mines Minerals and Energy, the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, the Virginia Department of Forestry and five Buchann County coal companies.
Mandy Cox, Bristol’s Mega Projects team lead, thanked the students for their participation and shared the impact their efforts will make.
“When the expressway is a reality and you have the opportunity to drive on the road, you will see the trees you planted today and be proud knowing you had a part in the project,” Cox said prior to the tree planting event.
About 230 students participated in the planting of approximately 1,000 redbuds and flowering dogwoods.
Continuing to Honor a Colleague and Friend
April 19, 2013: Several months after the death of their coworker and friend, Carlos “Kent” Keen, crew members at the VDOT Oakwood area headquarters in Buchanan County still save a seat for him at the table.
“It’s not truck number 6167, it’s still Kent’s truck,” said Bob Anderson, Oakwood Superintendent. “It will probably be some time before we don’t refer to it as his.”
Keen was killed by a tractor-trailer last July along Route 460 in Buchanan County while driving his backhoe back to the area headquarters at the end of the day.
The crew members miss their friend and enjoy telling stories and anecdotes he shared with them over the years. Another message they have to share in Keen’s honor is one of safety and its daily importance.
The crew has chosen to honor him by adding a Kent Keen Safety Board to their area headquarters. The board lists relevant safety messages that change daily and also houses a plaque with his photo that reads, “In loving memory of our coworker and friend Carlos “Kent” Keen, January 18, 1964 - July 31, 2012.”
“We drive by the spot where he died almost every day, so it’s a constant reminder of how quickly things change,” said Steve Conley, crew member. “We wanted to tie his memory to our focus on safety.”
Earlier this week, Keen was honored at the Work Zone Awareness Vigil held at VDOT’s Workers’ Memorial, which now includes his name.
'Go Orange Day' at VDOT Raises Work Zone Awareness
April 18, 2013: There was a sea of orange in the commonwealth yesterday as VDOTers celebrated “Go Orange Day” in support of work zone safety.
Gov. Bob McDonnell also joined in on the festivities by lighting the Executive Mansion orange last night.
You can see photos of this event on Flickr.