VIDEO: Chilliwack woman awarded Carnegie medal for heroism

Julie Callaghan seriously injured when she tried to save a man stuck in wheelchair on rail tracks

Tears were inevitable for Julie Callaghan Friday as she was the centre of attention at the Chilliwack RCMP detachment, surrounded by firefighters, Mounties, CN Rail officers and others.

Callaghan’s brave attempt to rescue a man in a wheelchair stuck on rail tracks in 2018 was honoured with the Carnegie Medal for Extraordinary Heroism.

The president of the Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Hero Fund Commission was in Chilliwack to give Callaghan her medal.

In describing Callaghan’s actions that fateful day on May 26, 2018, Eric Zahren pointed out that the word “unsuccessful rescue” is not a term the foundation ever uses.

The front of Julie Callaghan’s Carnegie Medal for Extraordinary Heroism given to her on Dec. 13, 2019. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

“In our long experience in these matters, it’s been shown there is no such thing as an unsuccessful rescue,” Zahren said. “Even in cases where, despite the best efforts of the rescuer, the victim does not survive, we know that the rescuer’s actions have made all the difference to the families… and to the victim’s themselves in their final terrifying moments were given hope and comfort by another individual who had come for them.”

• READ MORE: Chilliwack woman who tried to save man stuck on rail tracks called a ‘hero’

Callaghan was in her car on Broadway Avenue at the rail crossing that day in 2018. Matthew Jarvis was crossing the tracks when the rear wheels of his wheelchair got stuck in the tracks. Callaghan and another woman sprung into action trying to free him from the predicament.

The entire action took about 15 seconds, and at the last second she tried to escape but a train travelling at 80 kilometres an hour crashed into her hand, killing Jarvis.

Her hand was severely damaged and on Oct. 21, 2019, she had three fingers and part of it amputated.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack woman struck by train while trying to save man has partial hand amputation

In receiving the medal, Callaghan was emotional, thanking the first responders on the scene, firefighters and police officers.

“I don’t really know what to say, thank you,” she said. “It’s been an overwhelming year for sure and it really hasn’t stopped, it just keeps going. I’ve got all your backs if you are in trouble. I’d do it all again.”


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

White Rock’s promenade to close to the public

Public access to popular waterfront walkway closing April 10: city

Christopherson Steps, 1,001 Steps closed due to COVID-19

Access restricted to Crescent Beach over Easter weekend, City of Surrey announces

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

APRIL 8: White Rock to close its promenade, 45 new COVID-19 cases, including five more deaths

Young Muslims offer helping hand to isolated residents throughout Lower Mainland

Neighbourhood Helper campaign aims to get help to people who can’t leave their homes

Earl Marriott rugby alum named winner of prestigious UBC award

Michael Smith presented with Jama Mahlalela Award for accomplishments on and off rugby pitch

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

BC institution has highest number of positive results for COVID-19

11 inmates in Mission test positive for coronavirus, more than any other federal prison in Canada

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

Most Read

l -->