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

VIDEO: Newbie Giants helps defeat Victoria 4-1 in Langley Friday

The G-Men play Saturday in Victoria before hosting Kamloops on home ice at LEC on Sunday afternoon

Aldergrove newspaper boys brave the snow

Aldergrove Star carriers are doing their best to deliver the news to you

Young curlers ready for national tournament in Langley

The teams practiced on Friday in preparation for the official start Saturday

Not over yet: Mixture of snow, freezing rain on way as winter storm tapers in Lower Mainland

Environment Canada releases weather alert for Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley

VIDEO: Contest winner pays it forward in Langley

Jan Janzen will share her $200 prize with the food bank, homeless shelter, and grandkids

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Coquihalla, Highway 3 to be hit with freezing rain, sparking warning to commuters

Hard to say when the freezing rain will turn to regular rainfall, Environment Canada says

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Should winter tires be mandatory in the Lower Mainland?

ICBC dial-a-claims go up as winter storm takes toll

Canada Post driver in hospital after ice smashes windshield at Massey Tunnel

Incident happened on Richmond side of the Massey Tunnel

Abbotsford bank ATM robbery thwarted by woman standing her ground

Police arrest alleged known robber running down South Fraser wearing balaclava

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Most Read