Safety message taken to ballpark

The Belt’s Operation Lifesaver volunteers recently went out to the ballgame to spread their safety message.

Standard Bank Stadium is home to the Windy City ThunderBolts baseball team, and it also was where Sergeant Gerald Conoboy and other volunteers set up shop Aug. 26 to raise crossing safety awareness.

Sergeant Gerald Conoboy distributes fans with an important message.

The visit, which also included volunteers from Metra and Canadian National, was part of the Belt’s continued emphasis for Operation Lifesaver.

“The main thing was getting our message out there,” Conoboy said.

The game drew a near capacity crowd of 3,200. It offered him the chance to meet with families attending the game and distribute informational pamphlets on railroad safety. Children were given Operation Lifesaver coloring books and crayons.

In the past, the railroad’s Operation Lifesaver volunteers have reached as many as 10,000 people in a year with their presentations. As of Oct. 1, they delivered the message to more than 3,000 people, many of them schoolchildren. In addition to preschool, elementary and high school students, the volunteers reach out to bus, cab and truck drivers. But the volunteers — including Conoboy, Switchman Joe Chacon and Patrolman Ramon Ortiz, Sergeant Sam Canerday and Safety Chairman John Lucio — want to get their message out to whoever will listen.

Lucio was inspired to get involved by his own children. He has enjoyed doing presentations because they help him engage the community, but the most satisfying aspect of volunteering is that he and his colleagues have made a difference.

“I feel we’ve made a huge impression,” he said. “If we can stop one kid from making a mistake, that means everything.”