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HomeNewsBusiness WirePhil Breden and Wemotaci, Que. Awarded Prestigious Roger Cyr Awards for Rail...

Phil Breden and Wemotaci, Que. Awarded Prestigious Roger Cyr Awards for Rail Safety

OTTAWA, Ontario–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As part of Rail Safety Week 2023 (September 18 – 24), Operation Lifesaver Canada (OL)—a national not-for-profit dedicated to promoting rail safety—is pleased to announce the recipients of its prestigious 2022 Roger Cyr Awards. Wemotaci, Que. has been selected as the winner of OL’s Roger Cyr Award for Communities, and OL’s British Columbia Committee Chair, Phil Breden, will receive the individual Roger Cyr Award.




Named after the founder of Operation Lifesaver (OL) Canada, the Roger Cyr Awards for Public Rail Safety recognize individuals and communities that are doing outstanding work to prevent deaths and injuries at rail crossings and as a result of trespassing on railway property.

Individual winner’s dedication stems from a love of trains

Phil Breden joined Operation Lifesaver as a Rail Safety Ambassador in 2018, and is currently the chairperson of OL’s British Columbia Committee. Originally from New Zealand, Phil is a life-long train enthusiast who fell in love with the CPKC railway when he moved to Canada—which is one of the reasons he got involved with OL.

“Because of my love of trains, I don’t want people to get hurt,” he explains. ”Also, as a rail fan, you’re going out and photographing trains, videoing trains, and you’ve got to make sure that people aren’t getting too close to the railway tracks.”

“Phil is the epitome of the citizen Rail Safety Ambassador,” says Sarah Mayes, National Director of Operation Lifesaver Canada. “He’s knowledgeable, passionate, and dedicated to OL and to spreading the rail safety message. He doesn’t hesitate to roll up his sleeves if his assistance is needed, and even a Vancouver snowstorm won’t deter him from educating others about rail safety. Phil is incredibly deserving of this award.”

A community driven by a desire to prevent future tragedies

Wemotaci, Que.’s commitment to rail safety stems from its first-hand experience of a rail tragedy. In 2018, an eight-year-old boy from the First Nation community was hit and killed by a train while playing on a railway bridge. Since then, Wemotaci has taken steps to ensure that community members of all ages understand the risks surrounding tracks and trains; OL Ambassadors have been invited to make presentations in Wemotaci schools during Rail Safety Week, and rail safety signage has also been installed in the community.

“The Wemotaci Police Service has made strong efforts to educate the Atikamekw community about the importance of rail safety. With this increase in education, we have seen significant positive shifts, and we are very grateful to the Wemotaci Police Service and to the entire Atikamekw community for their activism. We are proud to call them a true partner in rail safety,” says Stephen Covey, CN Chief of Police and Chief Security Officer, and OL Board member.

Operation Lifesaver Canada wishes to extend its congratulations and sincere thanks to both Phil Breden and the community of Wemotaci for their outstanding efforts in promoting rail safety in British Columbia and Quebec.

About the Roger Cyr Awards

Named after the founder of Operation Lifesaver Canada, the Roger Cyr Award for Public Rail Safety was first awarded in 1981 and is a joint initiative of OL, the Railway Association of Canada, and Transport Canada. The individual award is open to all active Operation Lifesaver partners and volunteers who are making efforts to promote rail safety and encouraging others to follow suit. A separate award is also available to Canadian municipalities and communities that have made an outstanding contribution to rail safety through education, training, or community-based programs aimed at reducing rail crossing and trespassing incidents.

About Operation Lifesaver Canada

Operation Lifesaver Canada is a national public rail-safety program sponsored by Transport Canada, the Railway Association of Canada and its members, including CN, CPKC, VIA Rail, Metrolinx, exo, West Coast Express and Genesee & Wyoming, among others. Through its national network of Rail Safety Ambassadors, partnerships with safety councils, police, the trucking industry and community groups, and innovative tools such as its virtual-reality Look. Listen. Live. campaign, Operation Lifesaver Canada works to save lives by educating Canadians about the hazards of rail crossings and trespassing on railway property. Canadians can keep up-to-date on the latest rail safety news by visiting operationlifesaver.ca.

Contacts

Catherine Henry

Operation Lifesaver Canada

[email protected]
(613) 564-8100

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