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

Hope Curling Club set to welcome provincial championship in February

Field for mixed doubles B.C. tournament almost filled, two berths left to fill

Hope firefighters facing down 48 flights for lung health

Group of seven will take part in grueling Climb the Wall fundraiser

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

Province bringing 421 new affordable childcare spaces to Fraser Valley

Supporting early childhood educators and creating spaces go hand in hand, minister says

New waste system rolling out across Hope Feb. 10

Bins began arriving at homes around Hope this week

VIDEO: Music stars pay tribute to Kobe Bryant at Grammys award show

Music artists including Billy Ray Cyrus, Rick Ross and Kirk Franklin paid tribute to Bryant

Furstenau flays NDP as she launches B.C. Green Party leadership bid

LNG, Site C dam wrong for environment, Cowichan MLA says

Woman guilty of dangerous driving crash that left Saanich girl, then 11, unresponsive

Nikirk guilty of one count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm

Pregnant B.C. woman stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak

Woman is due to give birth in Wuhan, China unless she can get out

Victoria-area wolf tranquilized after being seen running around neighbourhood

Officials say wolf unharmed during its ‘arrest’

Ontario confirms second presumptive coronavirus case in wife of first patient

Both arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants head coach records 200th win with 3-2 victory in Kelowna

Michal Kvasnica and David Tendeck named stars of the game

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Most Read