On Thursday March 12, 2015 an extraordinary man who touched the lives of every person he encountered, tragically left the world far too soon. He was doing what he loved, working as a carpenter foreman on the new 520 bridge project. Joe Arrants was an inspiring and bright light at our workplace. His personality was infectious, you couldn't walk away from Joe and not have a smile on your face. Even if you were having a bad day Joe had a way of always making everything fun and or funny...and, sometimes just downright hilarious. He was truly one of a kind and losing him is hitting us all really hard. I don't know what the future holds and how the rest of the job will play out. But I do know we are missing a huge piece of the puzzle...a piece we will never have back, a piece that is irreplaceable and a piece that is unimaginable to have missing.
Joe played such a huge role in a lot of our day to day lives over the past 3 years. In his honor I personally am going to try my best to approach my life every single day the way that Joe did his. I want to challenge all of my co-workers from iron workers to carpenters, operators, laborers, electricians, foremen, apprentices, engineers, management and all the other trades I've missed to do the same. Not just at work, But at home and in all aspects of our lives. I don't think it will come as naturally for some of us as it was for Joe, but we can do our best to not take life for granted. To be positive, happy, and live life to the fullest. Love and appreciate the people around us the way Joe loved and appreciated all of us. Embrace the moment and enjoy every single day that We are blessed with on this planet with just a bit of the unbridled passion Joe shared for life.
With the love and respect that Joe continuously gave his coworkers, it felt as though we were part of his extended family. I can only imagine how much joy and love he showered his immediate family with. Joe's family and close friends are in all of our thoughts and prayers. Life is too short and can end at any second. I don't know about everyone else but I think leaving behind the legacy and the memory that Joe did is pretty special. Having the chance to be lucky enough to have known and work with someone of Joe's caliber is "once in a lifetime". I hope we all can take on some of that positive energy and genuine spirit in our day to day lives to honor a man that we will sorely miss and meant so much to us all.
God bless you Arrant's family and all lives affected by Joe's passing. What a tremendous man and huge loss for this world.
From One Trade to Another
For the past 8 months I have been working as an apprentice Ironworker out of Local 86 on the SR 520 Bridge in Medina, WA. Through the struggles of learning a completely new job, and the excitement of applying my newly acquired skills to a fast pace, I have been given tips and tricks from those around me. Coworkers have helped me up when I have fallen, have answered questions when I've asked them, and given me guidance when I have needed it. I have built friendships that will carry over to the next job site or the one after that. But the friendships, tips, tricks, answers, guidance and the hand to help me up did not just come from my ironworker brothers and sisters... But from my fellow carpenters, operators, laborers, electricians and every other trade I have worked with. I am learning that I am not just in a brotherhood of the Ironworkers, but a brother of a much bigger family.
On march 12, 2015 we, as brothers and sisters of all trades, lost one of our own to a tragic accident while working on the 520 floating bridge. While I did not personally know Joe Arrants (just in passing), many of my coworkers knew him very well. Some of them I work closely with everyday, some occasionally and some in passing. In particular my wife is an operator that has worked with Joe for the past 3 years. The news of Joe's passing has been extremely hard on my wife, as well as my coworkers I now call friends.
In the short time I knew who Joe was, I could see that everything I have heard of him is true. Not once did I pass by Joe in the morning, or on the way out of work, without him making someone laugh or without a smile on his face. It seemed that Joe knew everyone and everyone knew Joe. It appeared as though Joe is glue that connected all the trades together.
The last few days I have realized that while we perform different tasks, we are all truly working together. From Ironworkers to carpenters, operators to laborers, foremen to apprentices and trade to trade.... We all help each other up, struggle together, succeed together, laugh together and cry together.
Thank you Joe Arrants for showing me, through the respect and joy that you gave to all others, the stories I have heard and the examples you set, how the industry can work together as a whole from one trade to another!
Ironworkers Local 86