‘Touched so many lives’: GoFundMe launched following workplace fatality in Bowmanville

Click to play video: 'GoFundMe launched as community mourns workplace death of millwright Mitch Watson'
GoFundMe launched as community mourns workplace death of millwright Mitch Watson
A GoFundMe has been launched and a community is mourning, after the sudden tragic death of 20-year-old Mitch Watson. The young millwright was a victim of a workplace fatal accident on March 21. The Ministry of Labour is investigating the incident. – Mar 28, 2023

Just weeks before his 21st birthday, Mitch Watson’s life was cut tragically short.

On March 21, Watson was trapped beneath a metal object at the St. Mary’s Cement site in Bowmanville just after 9 a.m. Durham Region Paramedics found him without vital signs, and he was not taken to hospital.

The young millwright from Uxbridge leaves behind his parents, his sister, and girlfriend. Beyond that, he leaves behind a community, of family, friends and colleagues grieving his loss and saying they will miss him “beyond words.”

Chris Hogg, a family friend of the Watsons, says the outpouring of love and support for the Watson family and Mitch, has been incredible. “This young man touched so many lives, and it’s really been unbelievable to see the community come around this family and support and remember Mitch.”

A GoFundMe was launched to help with bereavement costs. In just one week, it has already raised over $60,000 — well beyond the $5,000 goal — through over 600 donations. Hogg said the reason behind the GoFundMe was that friends and co-workers were reaching out and trying to find ways to support the immediate family.

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“It’s just been absolutely unbelievable to see the outpouring of love and support from people who knew him, and his coworkers, even strangers and people who didn’t know Mitch,” Hogg said.

Abbey Adamson, twin sister of Watson’s girlfriend, said the two quickly became best friends.

“He was always there for me, always protected me. He was dating my twin sister for three years, and he became such a huge part of our family,” Adamson said.

“We will always love and admire him for the person he was, and the person he wanted to be.”

Click to play video: 'Calls for action grow after two workplace fatalities at Saint John facility'
Calls for action grow after two workplace fatalities at Saint John facility


“Mitch was just one of those guys you had to meet for just a second to know he was truly special,” said Chris Eyre, one of Watson’s many friends. “It’s just amazing to see the support that his close friends and family give, and it’s amazing to see the amount of support people who just met him, or just heard of him, (give) the family.”

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Friends said Mitch loved anything with an engine, and he could often be found in the garage.

“It’s the spot for him, where we would always find him, …. always helping out and helping everyone else work on their trucks and sleds,” said Devon Stimpson, one of Watson’s friends.

Stimpson said Watson was a friendly guy, willing to help out any moment he had. He said all the memories they made will be kept forever.

“It didn’t matter if he had new clothes on,” added Luke Evenson, one of the friends Watson leaves behind. “He would just crawl under the truck to help you if you needed it.”

A hard worker, kind, and having the ability to light up any room — these are common characteristics mentioned when family and friends described Watson.

Eric Groves said he and Watson knew each other since high school and were members of a close group of friends he described as being like “family.” “He was one of those guys who you just meet, and it’s like you’ve always been friends with him. He was everyone’s best friend.”

Millwright Local Union 1916 posted a tribute to Watson on social media. “It saddens us to inform you that one of our local 2309 brothers suffered fatal injuries in Bowmanville,” read the post, which sends condolences to family and friends of Watson.

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In a response to Global News, the Ministry of Labor, Training and Skills Development of Ontarios said it was notified of the fatality, and two inspectors went to the project on March 21. Four requirements were issued to the constructor, St. Mary’s Cement Inc., and one requirement was issued to the employer, Trade-Mark Industrial Inc.

According to the ministry, the investigation is ongoing, and it is unable to provide further comment at this time. It did not indicate or specify the requirements made for either party.

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