It is a story that is not often told. The widow of a tower climber has written a book about the death of her husband and her ensuing grief process. Bridgett Hester’s husband Jonce Hubble and co-worker Barry Sloan died on July 22, 2010, after the tower they were working on collapsed in McClellan, Ala.
In “Godwink: On the Wings of Butterflies,” Hester, with Teri Lang, tells the story of that fateful summer day when a vehicle backed over a guy wire and toppled the tower on which Hubble and Sloan were working. Sloan died at the scene, and Hubble was taken by life-flight to the hospital at University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he died during surgery.
“The death of a spouse is one of those life events that can completely derail someone from his or her life path. What was once expected, even taken for granted, no longer exists. Reality for the surviving spouse is forever altered, and he or she can be left feeling lost and abandoned,” Hester wrote.
This memoir chronicles Hester’s spiritual journey after the death of her husband. Through relating her story, she hopes to help others who have lost a loved one.
All of the proceeds from the book will be donated to the Hubble Foundation where they will be used to fund scholarships for children of deceased climbers, new climber equipment and safety research in the telecommunications industry. Hester began the foundation to promote safety among the workers on tower crews and turbine climbers and to provide support for the families of deceased climbers.
“Everyone plays a part in workplace safety … from the carriers, the turf companies farming out the installation and climbing jobs to the local communication companies that send out crews, the foremen and climbers. There is enough culpability to go around,” Hester wrote on the foundation’s website. “Lasting and effective changes need to start from the ground up and, at the same time, start from the top down. Most importantly, we need to take care of the families left behind when technicians die while on the job.”
The Hubble Foundation works to promote legislation to protect tower and turbine technicians, sponsors instructor training for climbers and engages in research to improve safety equipment and industry practices, according to its website.