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NS Heroes

At the March Safety and Service Award Celebration in Atlanta, Norfolk Southern recognized 19 employees as NS Heroes for going above and beyond the call of duty to assist others in life-threatening situations. Their actions exemplify NS' SPIRIT values to the highest degree.

At a maintenance-of-way work site in Ohio, Ben Perry and Don Duffey, foreman and assistant foreman, respectively, of a gang based in Marion, heard a loud crash from a nearby road. Rushing over, they saw a car had slammed into a tree and a man was lying partially outside the vehicle. Perry immediately dialed 911, and both assisted the driver until emergency medical services arrived.

Outside to perform pre-trip vehicle inspections, Jeff Bruggeman, assistant track supervisor, Marion, Ohio, prevented a teenage boy from stepping into the path of a train. The boy, about 15, was wearing headphones and appeared to be dancing, oblivious to a train approaching a grade crossing. The boy was in the foul of the track when Bruggeman grabbed him by the back of his sweatshirt and pulled him to safety.

Returning from a Lake Division work site in Crawford County, Ohio, Kevin Krupp, electric welder helper, and Ethan Patrick, trackman, drove up on an accident involving an overturned SUV and two other vehicles. They provided first aid to several badly injured passengers and continued to assist after emergency medical services personnel arrived.

After assisting a multilevel train, Anson Blackburn, brakeman, Alabama Division, was driving back to the depot at Vance, Ala., when an oncoming car crossed into his lane. Blackburn swerved to avoid a collision, and the car ran head-on into a truck traveling behind him. Blackburn notified a nearby train crew and trainmaster, who called 911. Blackburn administered first aid to the injured car driver until paramedics arrived.

Travis Brady, engineer, Central Division, was eating lunch at a restaurant when he saw a man choking at a nearby table. Brady jumped from his seat and performed the Heimlich maneuver, dislodging a chicken bone from the man's throat.

As his train passed through Taswell, Ind., Dale Thompson, conductor, Illinois Division, saw a man's body lying near the tracks. He didn't know it then, but the man had shot himself in the head. After stopping the train, Thompson kept the man's son away from the body, discreetly contacted the mother, and stayed with the son until his mother arrived.

While shoving cars in the Lexington, Ky., yard, Eddie Byrd, engineer, spotted a person lying on the main line track and unable to get up. Byrd quickly stopped his train and radioed an approaching train to stop its movement. Byrd then helped the person from the tracks, preventing injury or worse.

During lunch at a national hazardous waste training seminar in Chicago, Ill., Gaymeon Gibson, NS environmental compliance officer, performed the Heimlich maneuver on a classmate who was choking in a hallway outside the lunchroom.

Working at the Eastaboga, Ala., spur track, NS contractor Marlin Smith, a backhoe operator, heard the gang truck's horn blowing but couldn't see inside because of a heavy rain. He ran over and saw the track foreman slumped over the steering wheel. The foreman told Smith he thought he was having a heart attack. Smith helped the foreman into his vehicle and rushed him to the hospital.

In Conway, Pa., Travis Bailey, road foreman of engines, worked with a locomotive engineer who had become ill but refused to see a doctor. Eventually, Bailey told the engineer he had to go to the hospital. The engineer died three weeks later but benefitted from Bailey's caring actions.

Garry Roe, senior general foreman, St. Louis, Mo., drove another employee to the post office to mail office correspondence. The co-worker returned to the car coughing violently and complaining she couldn't breathe. Roe then drove the employee to a medical clinic for treatment.

Before starting an assignment at the Williamson, W.V., yard, Walt Ford, carman, held a telephone briefing with a fellow carman, who seemed incoherent. Ford and Mark Cook, working gang leader, checked on the employee; his speech was slurred, the left side of mouth was dropping, and his left arm slouched. They rushed him to a hospital, where he underwent surgery to remove a clot.

At Norfolk Terminal, hostler D.R. "Doc" Creedle was working with a student pipefitter who passed out. Creedle radioed Brian Dunning, machinist, who called 911. Dunning arrived and administered CPR while Joe Ingram, mechanical supervisor, retrieved an automated external defibrillator. They tried to revive the student until emergency responders arrived.

Reginald Warren, a conductor at St. Louis Terminal, was watching his son's football team from the sidelines when the team's coach went into cardiac arrest. Warren, a military veteran certified in CPR training, and another parent ran over to assist. They started and continued CPR until an ambulance arrived. Because of their quick action, the coach survived.