Ambrose Poss was another unsung American hero whose labors helped to build the USA into the strong democracy it became in the 1950s and 1960s. The descendant of German immigrants, Ambrose was born 11 April 1921 in Sibley, Iowa. In 1942, along with hundreds of thousands of other young men his age, he was inducted into the U.S. Army. Landing in England the following year, he served at first in the 102nd Infantry Division. He was later assigned to an artillery company, where he served for the duration of the war, eventually stationed in France. He returned home after the war and in 1946 began his career as a mechanic. He married the former Katherine Gacke in 1947.
Over the next thirty-five years, he worked as a business manager and supervisor at auto service shops and home remodeling projects while raising a family, paying taxes and making his community a better place. While it could be argued that eighty-four years on this planet constitutes a full, long lifespan, someone coming to the end of that life should not have to be racked with pain, fighting for every breath. Ambrose Poss died of mesothelioma on 30 August 2005. Two years later, his son Douglas is going after those responsible. Besides farm implement manufacturer Deere & Company, Douglas Poss’ lawsuit names 77 other defendants, including Chrysler, Ford Motors, defense contractor General Electric, and notorious corporate polluter Union Carbide. The suit alleges that these corporations knew full well that asbestos was a toxic substance, yet put this substance into their products and engaged in willful negligence when they failed to issue warnings–particularly in regards to employee hygiene practices that would prevent workers from carrying asbestos fibers home in their hair and clothing, thus endangering their families. You see, Douglas has also been exposed to asbestos.
The fact that Ambrose Poss served his country in time of war, contributed to its economy in time of peace, and had a wife and family apparently meant nothing to the huge corporations named in the lawsuit. Those who think Ambrose Poss’ courage and dedication did matter, and who want to prevent anyone else from suffering as he did, can honor his memory by calling or writing to their representative and senators to demand that they put citizens’ needs ahead of corporate interests–and to start doing that by voting in favor of S.B. 742, the Ban Asbestos in America Act.