by Gonzalo Baeza | February 02, 2011
Public service is not just a job, it’s a calling and nowhere is this more evident than in the example set by AFSCME Local 378 (Council 28) member Billy Rhynalds. A 12-year veteran of the Washington State Department of Transportation, Rhynalds, 65, died on the job after being hit by a falling tree during a rainstorm.
Rhynalds was setting up traffic cones after heavy rains struck Western Washington, flooding roads and knocking down power lines. When a cottonwood tree fell on the highway, it hit Rhynalds and his truck.
Rhynalds had a reputation for volunteering to work extra shifts in emergency situations and going out of his way to help people.
He was “well-liked, a hard worker willing to do every shift,” department maintenance superintendent Jim McBride told The Seattle Times.
Rhynalds is survived by his wife Betty, two children, three grandchildren, five sisters and three brothers.
“He was always the first one stepping up to do whatever needed to be done,” said Local 1020 member Domingo Avila.
AFSCME mourns the loss of brother Rhynalds. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones.