Operation Lifesaver Presents the Roger Cyr Award To Miguel Lewerenz of the Quebec-Gatineau Railway For Outstanding Accomplishments in Promoting Rail Safety

OTTAWA, May 5, 2011 - Operation Lifesaver, the nation's dedicated not-for-profit organization focused on preventing accidents associated with train collisions with motor vehicles and trespassing on rail property, has announced its 2011 Roger Cyr Award winner, Miguel Lewerenz, as part of Public-Rail Safety Week, May 2 through May 8. The national award recognizes efforts to raise public awareness and promote public-rail and road safety. A veteran train engineer and a certified Operation Lifesaver presenter since 2009, Miguel Lewerenz was nominated for the award by Normand Adams, Training, Security and Settlement coordinator at Quebec-Gatineau Railway. Miguel was named this year's Roger Cyr Award in recognition of his extensive community outreach activities, presentations, and meetings with public officials in the Trois-Rivières, Québec, region. Lewerenz was selected from among the dedicated advocates of rail safety who applied for this year's Roger Cyr Award. "Since becoming a certified OL presenter, Miguel has reached out to safety and educational institutions, as well as the public in general, to rally greater awareness and involvement in making rail safety a priority in the Quebec region," Adams said. On his personal time Lewerenz has met with principals of the Trois-Rivières school board, clubs such as the model railroading club, and a cross-section of public safety officials. Lewerenz has delivered more than 30 presentations to students at local schools, represented Operation Lifesaver in the Québec ATV tradeshow, and promoted rail safety during public safety events. "He leads by example," Adams said. "He works diligently at a grassroots level, with passion and determination, to reach out and spread the word of the importance of rail safety. It is through these efforts, among the youth and the general public, that help prevent dangerous behaviors that can lead to terrible tragedies.” Lewerenz will be honoured during the two-day Operation Lifesaver Public-Rail Safety National Conference (link?) September 13th and 14th in Gatineau, Quebec. The conference brings together rail and community stakeholders including school boards, municipalities, law enforcement, first responders, engineering groups and driver education groups for training and education in rail safety. The conference also includes a tradeshow exhibiting new safety products, services and technologies. Named after the founder of Operation Lifesaver in Canada, the Roger Cyr Award for Public-Rail Safety is a joint initiative of Operation Lifesaver, the Railway Association of Canada and Transport Canada. The award is open to all active Operation Lifesaver partners and volunteers who have undertaken efforts to improve railway safety and encouraged others in this pursuit during the 2010 calendar year. Award submissions were evaluated by a panel of Members of the Operation Lifesaver Program Review Committee, comprised of representatives from Transport Canada and the Railway Association of Canada and its members. "Operation Lifesaver believes that safety knowledge saves lives," said Dan Di Tota, National Director, Operation Lifesaver. "It is the dedicated volunteers such as Miguel, who reach out to the community and promote rail safety, that have contributed in large part to the reduction in rail fatalities and injuries in Canada. It is with our heartfelt pleasure that we award Miguel with the Roger Cyr Award in recognition of his outstanding efforts in promoting rail safety." Thanks to the efforts of Operation Lifesaver presenters, associates and volunteers, as well as the enforcement and engineering efforts of Canada’s railways, the number of crossing collisions (where a train and motor vehicle collide) in Canada has fallen dramatically from over 800 in 1980 to approximately 200 in 2010. It is through continued, collective efforts by involved safety-advocates such as Miguel Lewerenz, that Operation Lifesaver is optimistic that rail fatalities and injuries can be further reduced in the years to come.  One fatality or serious injury, is one too many, and Operation Lifesaver is honoured by the work of Miguel and others in supporting the vision of a Canada free from rail accidents.

About the Quebec-Gatineau Railway

The Quebec Gatineau Railway provides rail transportation services to the major industrial regions and ports in the Province of Québec. We are situated on the north shore of the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa rivers, an area comprising Québec City, Trois-Rivières, Shawinigan, Joliette, Montréal, St-Jérôme, Lachute, Gatineau and Hull.

About Operation Lifesaver

Established in Canada in 1981, Operation Lifesaver is a national public-rail safety program sponsored by Transport Canada and the Railway Association of Canada. Through partnerships with provincial safety councils, police, railways, the trucking industry and community groups, Operation Lifesaver is dedicated to saving lives by educating Canadians about the hazards surrounding highway/railway crossings and trespassing on railway property. www.operationlifesaver.ca For more information please contact: Rob Mclean Media Relations, Operation Lifesaver 613-721-6959 robm@operationlifesaver.ca Dan Di Tota National Director, Operation Lifesaver 613-564-8094 dand@railcan.ca Paul Goyette Railway Association of Canada 613-564-8097 www.railcan.ca