Operation Lifesaver in the spotlight

From left, Sgt. Jerry Conoboy, Switchman Joe Chacon, Reporter Sarah Jindra and Principal Charles Roza

WGN, a local independent television station, covered a recent BRC Operation Lifesaver presentation.

Operation Lifesaver volunteers Sgt. Jerry Conoboy and Switchman Joe Chacon recently spoke at Jacqueline B. Kennedy School in Burbank, Illinois. WGN sent a cameraman and traffic reporter Sarah Jindra to cover the event.

Chacon detailed personal experiences as a railroader that made spreading the word about railroad safety important to him.

Conoboy is grateful for the additional exposure the news coverage allows Operation Lifesaver.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “There was a little extra energy.”

WGN’s Sarah Jindra interviews Switchman Joe Chacon.

Conoboy has been conducting presentations four years. The audience varies, from truck and bus drivers to young children. This time it was a large group of receptive 5th and 6th graders.

“Their reaction was positive, and they learned a lot about train safety,” he said.

Conoboy has taught D.A.R.E classes. The organization provides children information and skills needed to live drug and violence free lives. He also taught college courses related to law enforcement.

“I feel comfortable around kids,” he said, adding that getting students involved in presentations is a priority for him. “The message is ‘Stay Off! Stay Away! Stay Alive!’”

He has children repeat that numerous times as he presents.

Sgt. Jerry Conoboy speaks to children about safety.

Helping children feel comfortable around law enforcement and develop strong relationships with police officers is one of the side benefits Conoboy hopes comes of addressing students. But his first objective is keeping them safe and equipping them to make good decisions.

The WGN segment can be viewed at http://wgntv.com/2017/01/17/local-conductor-sharesemotional-story-to-students-to-teach-rail-safety/