TOLEDO, Ohio — In front of the United Steelworkers Local 1-346 building on Consaul Street in Toledo, a sign reads "It's OK to not be OK right now."
Tuesday evening, a fire at the BP-Husky oil refinery led to the death of two workers: brothers Max and Ben Morrissey.
"The members know that we're all brothers and sisters and we're here for each other," USW Local 1-346 president Jim Witt said. "To lose two coworkers, fellow union brothers, actual brothers, it's a devastating loss."
So, the members of USW Local 1-346 decided to open a fund and raise money for the Morrisseys.
Donations for the fund are being accepted at two locations:
- Croghan National Bank at 4157 Navarre Ave., Oregon, OH 43616
- USW Local 1-346 at 2910 Consaul St., Toledo, OH 43605
You can also make a donation via Venmo (@USW1-346) or PayPal (firstname.lastname@example.org).
"Not only have they lost their loved ones, they lost an income and they have responsibilities to their families. And that's our most important goal right now is taking care of our brothers' families," Bryan Sidel, the financial secretary-treasurer of USW Local 1-346, said.
As those close to the Morrissey brothers grieve, there are still unanswered questions as to how the fire at the refinery started. USW Local 1-346 is doing its own investigation into the incident.
"When incidents happen, we like to get to the root cause of what happened so we can share that and prevent it from happening anywhere else," Eric, Sweeney, the district 1 staff representative for USW Local 1-346, said.
Although they have lost two people they considered to be friends, brothers and coworkers, USW Local 1-346's members are leaning on each other to provide support.
"We band together in the good times and the bad and we support each other, we support each other through it," Sweeney said.
Friends of Max and Ben describe the brothers as important members of their community with a long list of accomplishments.
"They were brothers but opposite," Brian Conn, a long-time friend of Ben and Max, said. "Max was older, voted class clown in high school, funniest and silliest guy you'll ever meet."
Conn described Ben as a gentle giant who was humble and had a smile on his face no matter where he was.
They both had a deep love for each other and their family too.
Conn said Max loved to ride bikes, had a motorcycle and would do a charity race for multiple sclerosis every year. He said Max also served in the Navy for four years.
Conn said Ben lived and breathed the outdoors, especially hunting and fishing.
Max had a wife and two young sons. Ben had a wife and one young son.
Conn said both of them were high school athletes and always stayed active.
"These guys would just do everything, they had a lot of accomplishments, loving family and you couldn't have asked for better people in the community," Conn said.