Brittney - The Deepwater Horizon's Forgotten Eleven: April 20, 2010

Thank you for viewing my presentation. Here's what I would like to know from you: What are your thoughts about the deaths of the Deepwater Horizon explosion?

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On Wednesday, April 20, 2011, at
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- Brittney


 March 21, 2010 – Final Draft


(1)   Brittney Aeschliman-Gilliam

(2)   The Horizon’s Forgotten Eleven: April 20, 2010

(3)   To inform

(4)   As a result of my presentation, my audience will be able to describe the eleven men who lost their lives on April 20, 2010 for the Deepwater Horizon explosion.



(5)   [PP Cover Slide] Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines someone who is forgotten as “a person or category of persons that receive less attention than is merited.” [PP photo: Each of the men to flash through and present them] Jason Anderson [pause], Dale Burkeen [pause]Donald Clark [pause], Stephen Curtis [pause], Gordon Jones [pause], Roy Wyatt Kemp [pause], Karl Kleppinger [pause], Blair Manuel [pause], Dewey Revette [pause], Shane Roshto [pause], Adam Weise [pause].  These are the eleven who lost their lives on the Deepwater Horizon explosion.  [PP text: put text up so audience has something to see and grasp onto].  They were quickly forgotten as WUWF News Director Sandra Averhart said when asked: “The deaths got lost somewhat by the magnitude of the spill and its wide ranging impacts on the environment/ecology of the gulf, tourism/economy, and seafood safety.”

(6)   We can let their memory live and allow them to be greater than the overlooked article of “11 men are dead” on to our next story in today’s news. 

(7)   And I believe that everyone deserves more than to be a statistic.  I feel for the survivors and everything that they have lost. 

(8)   All the hugs that could have been given, are now forever lost.   All the kisses that could have been shared, are now lost at sea.  All the laugher and smiles that could have been graced into these families’ lives, are no longer possible. They are lost and eleven families will never have that again.  Here in this short news clip from a Louisiana local news cast, we are able to see how the families just want the hope of remembrance for their loved ones. [PP video: news clip saying families want their loved ones remembered] And these families deserve their wish for remembrance of their loved ones.

(9)   [PP text: We will remember] Today, we will remember.

(10)                       Specifically, we will look at the explosion and how they were lost, who they are by getting to know about each one of them, and the movements from their family, in order to preserve the memories of these 11 roughnecks..


I.                   The Explosion

At 9:35 PM on April 20, 2010, gas escaping a riser started a series of explosions that left these eleven families in tears and so many more men forever scarred.  [PP photo: Christopher Choy] In NPR’s article, “Rig Blast Survivor: ‘I Thought I Was Going To Die’,” Christopher Choy says, “That’s all that was going through my head was, ‘I’m fixing to die.  This is it.  We’re not gonna get off of here’.”  But it wasn’t just his life at risk, everybody was scared and everyone was panicking.  Choy even recollected watching as one of the crane operator’s fell 50 feet and as he went to rescue him, a fireball erupted in his path and there was no way he could reach him, let alone save him.  In another NPR article, “Rig Survivors Felt Coerced to Sigh Waivers,” attorney Kurt Arnold spoke out on a scene described to him by one of the survivors told of how he was running out, there were men on fire and men missing limbs, “it’s like a warzone.”  [PP photo: explosion photo of the rig] In the middle of the night, chaos erupted and 11 friends were lost in the flames, to only be a memory.

II.                Eleven Men

Thanks to NPR’s article, “Remembering the Deepwater Horizon Workers,” we can learn just a fragment of who these forgotten eleven are.

A.    Karl Kleppinger

[PP photo: Karl] Karl “Big Poppa” Kleppinger was a 38-year-old man who served in Desert Storm who wrote “P.S. Will you marry me?” to his now wife.  He left his wife and a 17-year-old son without their “Big Poppa.”

B.     Dale Burkeen

[PP photo: Dale] Dale Burkeen, also a husband and father, took his own life in attempt to ensure the safety of so many others. A hero now lost with a family that does not get to see him again.

C.     Shane Roshto

[PP photo: Shane] Shane Roshto a 22-year-old from Baton Rouge who always carried two dates with him two dates with him on his helmet: the day of his marriage [pause], and the day of his son’s birth [pause].

D.    Dewey Revette

[PP photo: Dewey] Dewey Revette was a man that had been with the company for 30 years.  He left a wife and two daughters in Mississippi.

E.     Donald Clark

[PP photo: Donald] Donald Clark, father of four, lived with his wife in Louisiana and even told his son that life on the rigs was too dangerous and advised his to not pursue the life of a roughneck.

F.      Stephen Curtis

[PP photo: Stephen] Stephen Curtis, 39, a man who married in formal camouflage, for he loved to hunt.  Mr. Curtis left behind a wife and two kids.

G.    Wyatt Kemp

[PP photo: Wyatt] Wyatt Kemp was a man of God that just took a promotion to assistant driller, so that he could have more time to spend with his newborn daughter.  He was 27.

H.    Blair Manuel

[PP photo: Blair] Blair Manuel was a 56-year-old football fanatic that most likely died in the initial blast.  He was the father of three and on his way to remarry come June of 2010.

I.       Adam Weise

[PP photo: Adam]  Adam Weise, a 24-year-old who used to be a star football player in high school, had the belief that “what every boy needs when he turns 16 is a damn truck,” which he gave to his girlfriend’s son.

J.       Jason Anderson

[PP photo: Jason] Jason Anderson was a 35-year-old man who never ended a call without saying I love you.  He was a husband and a father of two that on the day of the explosion, he was only four hours away from being transformed to a new rig.  Unfortunately, there was other plans for him to forever stay on with the Deepwater Horizon.

K.    Gordon Jones

[PP photo: Gordon Jones] Our eleventh man is Gordon Jones, he was 28 and a golfer who never left for work without a putter.  He died as a husband to Michelle Jones and a father to a two-year-old and another son that was only eight months in his wife’s stomach at the time of his death.

All these men are unique and special to the lives that they have come in contact with throughout their life, and now, the only remainder is the memory of what they had achieved while they were living.  However, with their deaths, they are still touching the world.

III.             The Families Movements

With the losses of all of these men, the families just want the memory of them to live on forever, for these men are their heroes and no hero deserves to be overlooked.  [PP text: definition with super hero picture] As defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a hero is “a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities.”  A hero deserves to be remembered.  So, to be remembered, multiple families have done different things to keep the memory alive. 

A.    The Warning

About a month after the explosion, an article for Bloomberg titled “BP Pressured Rig Worker to Hurry Before Disaster, Father Says” was released in which Jason Anderson told his father from his account “that BP Plc was pressuring him to sacrifice safety for the sake of time and money.”  It is also said that BP overruled Jason’s safety objections and continued to support drilling under dangerous circumstances.  Even in Jason’s worry from persistent pressure of BP higher-ups, he was able to save lives.  As Billy Anderson said [PP text: quote printed], “My boy was cremated.  But the actions he and those other 10 heroes took are what made it possible for more than 100 other people to escape with their lives.”  This is the Anderson’s family actions in remembering Jason, through the belief he died as a hero.

B.     The Jones’s

Then, the Jones’s are fighting to preserve the memory of Gordon in scheme of differences, one being a petition and the other by speaking out.  According to The Huffington Post in the article “Father of BP Victim, Gordon Jones, Lashes Out At BP CEO Tony Hayward,” when Tony Hayward said he wanted his life back, a Louisiana Representative petitioned for the termination of Hayward in which Keith Jones wrote [PP text: quote written], “My son died aboard the Transocean Deepwater Horizon.  That’s whose life Tony Hayward ought to want back.” Then, Gordon’s wife, Michelle, is keeping his memory strong by trying to be optimistic and reaching out to others in which she says, “You can choose to be a victim or you can do something about it.”  But she isn’t just reaching out to the world, but also to her children.  To help show a little more of how they continue to fight on and keep the memory alive, here is a short clip from the Nate Berkus show. [PP video: Nate Berkus show and Michelle talking out] “We hang the pictures low.”

C.     Natalie and Blaine Roshto

And as Michelle hangs pictures lower, Natalie is praying and telling bedtime stories, as her statement to the Committee of Energy and Commerce says, “I pray everyday when I awake and at bedtime prayers with Blaine that I can sit him down one day and be able to tell him that his Daddy is a hero – a hero to all oilfield men and women because his death changed the heart and soul of those who place their business agenda over the importance of life.”  The memory of these men is being preserved everywhere you turn when you look within these families. 


(20) From all these little memories, we can see that these eleven men are all special and that they are worthy of remembrance.  [PP photo: collage of eleven men]  They are husbands, they are fathers, brothers, friends, and so many more.  But they are eleven men, that if a little more precaution was used or if someone would have cared a little more, these eleven men would not have had to lose their lives.  They could still be at home to give their hugs, their kisses, their smiles and happiness, and be more then just a picture of a lost hero.

(21) [PP text: remembrance definition] Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines remembrance as: “the state of bearing in mind or a memory of a person, thing, or event.”  Together [pause], we will remember these men and allow them to live forever in our minds.



Boycott BP Oil in America: 11 Heroes. 02.11.2011, from Boycott BP Oil in America website:

Carroll, Joe. “BP Pressured Rig Worker to Hurry Before Disaster, Father Says.” Bloomberg. 02.11.2011, from Bloomberg website:

Conan, Neal. “Remembering the Deepwater Horizon Workers.” NPR. 02.11.2011, from NPR website:

“Deepwater Horizon: Disaster in the Gulf.” 3.20.2011, from Awesome Stories website:

Huffington Post. “Father of BP Victim, Gordon Jones, Lashes Out At BP CEO Tony Hayward.” The Huffington Post. 02.11.2011, from Huffington Post website:

Huffington Post. “Gordon Jones: Deepwater Horizon Victim’s Family Speaks Out.” The Huffington Post. 02.11.2011, from Huffington Post website:

Huffington Post. “Michelle Jones, Gulf Oil Spill Rig Victim’s Widow, Shares Her Heart-Wrentching Experience On ‘The Nate Berkus Show’.” The Huffington Post. 02.11.2011, from Huffington Post website:

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

NWF Daily News. “Inferno in the Gulf.” Northwest Florida Daily News. 02.11.2011, from NWF Daily News website:

Parker, Laura. “Six Months After BP Blast: 11 Devasted Families.” AOL. 02.11.2011, from AOL News website:

Shapiro, Joesph. “Rig Blast Survivor: ‘I Thought I Was Going Die’.” NPR. 02.11.2011, from NPR website:

Shapiro, Joesph. “Rig Survivors Felt Coerced To Sign Waivers.” NPR. 02.11.2011, from NPR website: