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Construction worker gone, but not forgotten

The young man was a married, church-going, union iron worker. The sort of guy who helped build America and make it great.

The construction worker was only 27 when he plunged from scaffolding and fell over 100 feet to his death. Just the sort of tragedy to make the news for a day and then disappear forever? No, not really. Delbert Sullivan died on May 4, 1961 and will be remembered in his hometown on the fiftieth anniversary of his death.

Sullivan lived far from New York, helping to erect the eight-story City Hall in Dayton, Ohio.

Tomorrow, the lobby in that newly renovated structure will be named in honor of the fallen worker and his late wife.

According to a media report, "Sully," as he was known to friends and fellow iron workers, had been on the job at City Hall for months before the accident.

On that fateful day, he was on mechanical scaffolding reaching more than 100 feet in the air; extended as far as it could go.

As he drilled holes in the Hall roof's flashing, he fell from the scaffolding 110 feet onto the plaza roof of the then-new municipal building.

Delbert's sister, 80, is now his only surviving sibling.

"That was such a sad, sad thing in our lives," she said. "He was only 27 when we got the word -- it was almost more than I could take."

One co-worker, now deceased, was interviewed by a newspaper at the time of the tragedy; he said he saw Delbert fall and go under the guardrail.

Back then, there were no safety lines or belts to hold workers to the scaffolding, as there are in 2012.

Of course, workers today can still get hurt in falls from unsafe scaffolding and suffer terrible injuries.

In New York, workers can seek compensation under what's known as our Scaffold Law. It's best to talk to an experienced lawyer familiar with the law and how it can be used to protect workers and their families.

Source: cantonrep.com: "Canton to honor iron worker who died building City Hall," Ed Balint, Feb. 1, 2012

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