Today, one year ago, we lost eleven men during the Gulf Oil disaster – Deepwater Horizon. How I remember the dreadful tragedy. My heart broke for the families who would not see a loved one come home again, the children who would never kiss their father goodbye before leaving for work, a husband who would not share his life with those he loved. The intense flames and the gusting oil rushing into the beautiful Gulf Coast made me so angry. How could this happen, I asked.
Now, most people still remember the disaster — but do we really know the names of the eleven who died? Allow me to introduce them:
Jason Anderson, Bay City, Texas, a father
Aaron Donald Burkeen, 37, father and husband, a resident of Sandtown Community, Mississippi – reportedly, he died a hero striving to get everyone to safety.
Donald Clark, 49 from Newellton, Louisiana – husband, reportedly scheduled to leave the rig the following day.
Stephen Ray Curtis, 39 from Georgetown, Louisiana – active in his church and he loved spending time with his family.
Gordon Lewis Jones, 28 from Baton Rouge, Louisiana – he left behind a wife who was pregnant with their second child.
Roy Wyatt Kemp, 27 from Monterey, Louisiana – a religious man with a wife and three children.
Karl D. Kleppinger Jr., 28 from Natchez, Louisiana – he loved barbecue and NASCAR. He was a husband and father.
Keith Blair Manuel, 56 from St. Amant, Louisiana – engaged to be married, until—.
Dewey Allen Revette, 48 from State Line, Mississippi – husband and father of two daughters.
Shane Michael Roshto, 22 from Liberty, Mississippi – married with a three-year-old child. Inscribed within his hard hat were his anniversary date and his son’s birthdate!
Adam T. Weise, 24 from Yorktown, Texas – he loved playing football and was a outdooors kind-of-guy.
These men had character and strength and we will miss them. We will also miss all of the wildlife that died. I cried when I glanced at the TV seeing brown pelicans covered with oil, unable to move or fly or do anything to protect themselves.
After the news continued to escalate about this tragedy I became angry with BP. How could they allow this to happen? CEO Tony Heyward did not appear to be concerned. He appear more concerned with ‘getting his life back…’ Isn’t it sad that he wanted his life back when eleven men would love to be home with their loved ones. Today, we rarely hear about Tony Heyward. Perhaps that is good.
The Gulf Coast is a beautiful, pristine coastline, and I am hopeful that all will return. Reportedly, the shores are cleaner and the seafood is safe. Things are returning to normal and I am hopeful those are true statements. I plan to return to the Gulf Coast again someday, and I will research to see how sugar soft the sands are, and of course, I will look for pelicans. Still today, I wanted to reminisce a bit — to remember the people we lost. The tragedy of losing loved ones and wildlife. The Gulf Coast is such a special, beautiful place. The culture is rich. Restaurants and hotels are some of the best anyone could ask for. The people are proud and extremely friendly.
Since the Gulf Oil tragedy I haven’t patronized a BP station and I still go out of my way not to patronize. I am making a statement, I suppose. I want to remember the tragedy, especially those brave eleven men who lost their lives, exactly one year ago — today on April 20, 2010. Rest in peace.