ABB memorial
9:47 am
Wed January 5, 2011

ABB management - "We will get over this"

The last time they congregated outside like this, the temperatures were in the teens, the wind was howling, and there were four inches of snow on the ground. And they were scared for their lives.

Last year, a disgruntled employee opened fire at the ABB complex in north St. Louis. Timothy Hendron, 53, killed three of his colleagues and wounded five more before turning the gun on himself.

Today, though, was a time to remember. About 100 employees met under a clear sky and in seasonably cold temperatures just outside the building where the chaos erupted. What was just a patch of asphalt now holds a brass-colored metal fountain, six benches, and two tables. It's a memorial to the killed and wounded, designed by their colleagues.

"We will get over this," management told those who had gathered at shift change, around the time the shooting started.

"The fountain symbolizes an idea of renewal," says ABB spokesman Bob Fesmire. "And also, just the noise it makes when running is kind of soothing."

Counseling is still available to those who need it, Fesmire says. But he's surprised at the resilience the workers have shown.

"I really do think that they see each other as extended family," he says. "There was a lot of emotion, but a tremendous amount of strength."

The actual anniversary is Friday. The plant will not be open that day, Fesmire says.