CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — They are the unsung heroes of travel, making sure the roads you use are clear and safe. But road building and maintenance can be dangerous work.
Thursday, Kent County road workers turned out to dedicate a local road for one of their own who died on the job.
From all accounts, Tim Dougherty and the Kent County Road Commission were the perfect fit. He loved the job. The job loved him.
“Good personality. Good work ethic. He radiates that to the people who were around him,” said coworker Jerry Byrne, KCRC maintenance director.
Dougherty was just as dedicated at home. His daughters, who often had to go ahead with family events without their dad because Mother Nature did not follow the same schedule, say they never missed out.
“He always still made time for us. We still had that special connection with him. He still took us out hunting. He still made time for each one of us,” said Ashley Dougherty.
Tim Dougherty died in September 2014 after he was struck and killed by a road grader while supervising a road project near Alaska Avenue near Caledonia.
A large gathering of Dougherty’s coworkers helped dedicate the road he traveled to work on, the former South Complex Drive, as Tim Dougherty Drive in Cascade Township.
“They are family in our hearts,” said Sara Dougherty of her father’s former friends and coworkers.
“They will come out and the support is just unreal. We get from everybody,” said Ashley.
Dougherty coworkers says they hope the road’s new name serves a couple of purposes, including reminding the public of the dangers road workers face regardless if they are building a road or just taking care of it, and giving them a new appreciation of the men and woman who fill the potholes and clear the snow.
“Hopefully it does shed a little better light, put a more personal touch, because they are men and woman that have families and kids that dedicate themselves to safer roads,” Byrne said.
Beyond honoring their fellow road workers, the road commission has also added a safely officer to try to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again.