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Public Transit Police, Employees Honored for Lifesaving Actions; Reaching Out to the Community in Many Ways

Public transit employees in cities throughout the U.S. recently received recognition for their efforts that saved lives.

At Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station, Metra Police Officers Douglas Weincek and Joseph Cusentino began performing CPR on a man who collapsed on the station floor. Despite the man remaining unresponsive when the officers deployed an automated external defibrillator (AED), they continued CPR until the Chicago Fire Department transported the man to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

“We couldn’t be more proud of the actions of these two officers,” said Metra Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer Don Orseno. “By using their CPR training and the AEDs that Metra has made easily accessible throughout our system, they made an immeasurable difference in the life of this man turning this incident into a success story—not a statistic.”

In 2012, Metra and Northwestern Medicine, the strategic alliance of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, teamed up with Cardiac Science to install 425 AEDs on trains and at locations throughout Metra’s system. Since 2012, the AEDs have been deployed 10 times for cardiac events.

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) Board of Directors recognized MARTA Police Officer Michael Wyatt and station agents May McClarin, Solanke Bomani and Annie Parks for using AED and CPR to resuscitate a customer as she was suffering a heart attack at the Peachtree Center Station.

The MARTA board also honored employee Terrance Smart for preventing a would-be thief from stealing a young woman’s camera while she was sightseeing, even though the incident did not occur on MARTA property.

Sabrina Colon, a station agent at the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) Castro Valley Station, administered CPR to a man who had collapsed on the station platform during a morning commute.

A BART rider who was a nurse took over CPR from Colon until paramedics arrived. The paramedics transported the man to a hospital, but BART Police later confirmed that he had died in transport.

In St. Louis, the Bi-State Development Board of Commissioners honored MetroBus operators Bryant Goston, Richard Hines and Bryan Moore who risked their lives to rescue four people trapped inside an overturned vehicle engulfed in flames.

The three operators were taking a break at the Riverview Transit Center in North St. Louis when they heard two vehicles colliding. They saw that one of the cars involved in the accident had overturned and was on fire, trapping four people inside. Goston, Hines and Moore immediately grabbed the fire extinguishers from their buses and jumped into action, pulling the victims from the burning car.

Philadelphia’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is proud of Bob Tracey, who works on the Norristown High Speed Line and showed a different kind of heroism: He found a large amount of money and immediately turned it in to police.

Tracey was on his way home from work when he found a bag with more than $15,000 inside. “I just thought I was absolutely doing the right thing. I couldn’t keep that,” he said.

And sometimes public transit employees want to help when something goes wrong.

Osman Mayo, 14, was riding on a Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) bus in Columbus that was struck by another vehicle, causing no injuries but damaging Mayo’s bicycle beyond repair. His family lives more than a 30-minute walk from a COTA bus stop, so his bicycle served as his primary mode of transportation.

A group of COTA employees collected money to buy the boy a new bicycle, lights/reflectors and a lock.

“We saw a need and couldn’t sit back and not do something,” said Jimmy Pugh, COTA vehicle maintenance supervisor. “We all came together with a plan to buy him a new bike.”

Heroes are also people who help their fellow citizens in time of need. Citilink in Fort Wayne, IN, recently collected 1,278 pounds of nonperishable food and $1,500 in cash donations for the Community Harvest Food Bank through the 12th annual Big Bus Stuff. More than 200 donors received free tickets to a Fort Wayne Komets hockey game, while those who donated all items on a supplied “scavenger hunt” sheet were eligible to win season tickets for the team’s 2016-2017 season, valued at $1,400. In addition to the Komets, Citilink’s partners in the food drive included Ivy Tech Community College Northeast and Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. From left are Mike Franke, Komets; Carmen Griffith, Community Harvest; Betsy Kachmar, Citilink; and Jaclyn Garver, Ivy Tech Northeast.

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