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Mother of worker who died in off-shore blast readies for D.C. trip

By JJ VELASQUEZ
June 5, 2010 at 1:05 a.m.


Timeline of deadly rig explosion

On April 20, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing Yorktown resident Adam Weise and 10 other crew members. Several others were injured. Many escaped the disaster unscathed.

A U.S. Coast Guard search began by air and sea but, after three days, was called off.

That same day, a candlelight vigil was held in Yorktown in honor of Adam.

Since then, attention has turned to the oil spill and its environmental costs.

The federal government announced in June that a criminal and civil investigation of the oil spill had been launched to determine if laws were broken.

YORKTOWN - Sara Weise's infant son died last December.

No one helped her get over his death better than her brother, Adam Weise.

"He helped me deal with my anger over losing my son," she said. "No one else could."

Four months later, she lost Adam too.

Adam Weise, a Yorktown resident, died April 20 in the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig - or as rig workers often called it, the rig from Hell, said Adam's mother, Arleen Weise.

"This well they put them on had problems with it the whole time," Arleen said.

In a letter signed by President Barack Obama, Arleen and the families of the other crew members who died are invited to the White House.

On Thursday, Arleen, her mother, Nelda Winslette, and Adam's girlfriend, Cindy Shelton, will meet with the President and his staff to discuss the handling of the oil rig explosion and the spill, Arleen said.

"In the days ahead, may all Americans provide a lasting tribute to your son by renewing our vigilance to ensure workplace conditions are safe and secure," read the letter addressed to Arleen.

While media coverage initially focused on the workers and their families, attention has since shifted to the sprawling oil slick that poses a danger to the ecology of at least Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. The slick also threatens the livelihoods of the fishermen who work there and domestic seafood production.

And the leak continues to gush as BP's attempts to plug it have thus far proved futile.

Arleen understands the impact of the oil spill on both the environment and the economy, she said. But she wants people to remember the lives that were lost.

"These were all people just like us," she said. "They have lives. They have stories."

"Yeah, the oil spill is bad," added Sara. "I mean, it's catastrophic. ... But this is more than just an oil spill."

Sara said it's hard for her family, knowing that Adam's body remains somewhere near the ocean floor, thousands of feet below the surface.

His mother describes him as a prankster but a respectful and loving man.

He was good with children and assisted the elderly, his sister added.

"He fit in everywhere," Sara said, her eyes welling up after watching a short documentary on Adam produced by a Canadian broadcast network. "And the world was a better place for him just being there."

They fly to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

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