The vision of an angel doesn’t usually conjure up images of one in a yellow hard hat. But a newly formed chapter of Construction Angels in Tampa strives to help families who have lost a loved one from a construction-related accident.
Like one Riverview family, whose father, husband and breadwinner fell into a hole and suffocated after an excavation site collapsed under his feet earlier this year.
“Unfortunately, there is an upward trend of accidents with work being busier,” said Dean Sims II, founder of the Tampa Chapter.
According to the Florida Department of Labor, fatalities on construction jobs in Florida increased from 41 in 2011 to 55 in 2012, a 26% jump.
As the vice president at Sims Crane & Equipment Co., Sims has done construction work throughout Florida. When he learned about the increase in work-related fatalities and the work the Ft. Lauderdale-based Construction Angels was doing, he knew he wanted to get involved.
“I thought (Construction Angels) was pretty cool,” Sims said. “But why have only have it in one area, when we can help people all over?”
Construction Angels’ Tampa chapter will hold its first fundraiser from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. May 1, at Keel and Curley Winery. The event will feature live music, as well as a red carpet, commemorative and beer and wine, and a silent auction with prizes, such as a private cruise on a 60-foot yacht. Registration is $25 online and $30 at the door.
All proceeds will benefit the local chapter of Construction Angels, which will help families throughout Central Florida. Construction Angels aids families with financial assistance, counseling, hospice care, social security and more. Sims said he is particularly proud of the organization’s counseling program, because many families are shocked and hurt by sudden deaths from accidents. His mother, Sharon Daniel, is a social worker.
“It gives us something to work on together,” Sims said.
Construction Angels was started in Ft. Lauderdale about three years ago and has been helping families throughout the state but primarily in South Florida. With the Tampa Chapter, Sims will target Central Florida, including Plant City.
“Plant City has a lot of working families,” Sims said. “They are building America. It’s going to be a fun night that will bring people together and let people know about us and what we do.”
Contact Amber Jurgensen at [email protected].
IF YOU GO
WHEN: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 1
WHERE: Keel and Curley Winery, 5210 Thonotosassa Road
TICKETS: $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Those who register in advance will receive a Construction Angels wine glass
CONTACT: Dean Sims at (800) 282-6651 or [email protected]