Editorial: Enjoy Labor Day, but be safe and responsible

Aug. 29, 2013 @ 11:16 PM

National recognition of Labor Day came in 1894, when President Grover Cleveland proposed a bill honoring workers following the Pullman strike and other labor unrest.

Now, some 119 years later, it’s become one of several days throughout the year that seem, primarily, to honor retail sales.

All joking aside, Labor Day is a great opportunity for most workers to enjoy a day away from the daily grind.

It’s a day for family picnics, outings with friends and a last chance for a three-day weekend on the lake before the chill of fall really begins to take hold.

Unfortunately, it’s also a time for tragedy for some families.

With AAA predicting a spike in traffic over last year’s Labor Day weekend, there will be more opportunities for accidents on the roadways, especially with the increase in impaired driving often seen during a holiday weekend.

Just last week an avoidable disaster occurred on John Sevier Highway that took the life of a husband and father with Sevier County connections.

Ben Woodruff, husband of Beth Woodruff, a longtime employee of WonderWorks, was killed when a car, allegedly piloted by a drunken driver, crossed the center line and crashed head-on into the family’s vehicle.

The couple’s children, Ethan and Kate, were in the car with Ben at the time of the crash, and Ethan remains in critical condition.

A memorial account has been set up in memory of Benjamin Woodruff at Tennessee State Bank to help Beth with the family’s needs. Donations can be sent by money wire or in person at any Tennessee State Bank (account For Benefit of Ben Woodruff, #1200968).

With parties, social gatherings and other events looming this weekend, have a great time. But, by all means, be responsible. Your life and the lives of others may depend on it.