'I would do it again': Chilliwack woman who tried to save man's life receives medal
VANCOUVER -- A Chilliwack woman who tried to save a man from being hit by an oncoming train received a medal for her efforts Friday.
Julie Callaghan received a Carnegie Medal for her heroic actions when she tried to save 40-year-old Matthew Jarvis in May 2018. Jarvis, who used an electric wheelchair, somehow became stuck when trying to cross the train tracks at Broadway Avenue.
Callaghan and another woman both saw Jarvis get stuck and tried to move him. They had only seconds, and had to abandon their efforts as the train hurtled towards them. Jarvis died on scene.
The train struck Callaghan's hand before she could jump out of the way. More than a year later, she's still recovering from the debilitating injury and on Oct. 21, Callaghan had some of her fingers and part of her hand removed.
Eric Zahren, president of the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission based in Pittsburgh, Pa. presented the award, which is given to Canadian or American civilians who risk their own lives to save or to attempt to save the lives of others.
"We are honored to present Julie Callaghan with the Carnegie Medal for attempting to rescue Matthew Jarvis from being struck by a train in 2018 in Chilliwack. She saw Mr. Jarvis stuck in a perilous situation and impulsively took action, despite the extraordinary danger to herself,” said Zahren in a news release.
"She also offered hope and comfort to Mr. Jarvis, who in his final moments, was not left alone, but with the very best of humanity at his side. We are honoured to recognize Julie's strength and bravery, her selflessness and resulting sacrifice."
Zahren said the foundation typically receives 800 to 1,000 nominations every year. The award requires that the recipient left a place of personal safety to save or attempt to save another person's life.
Callaghan was emotional after she received the medal.
"I just want to say thank you to everyone who supported me and my family for the last 17 months and everybody who has shown me love and support even though I don't feel I deserve the love and support because it was an unsuccessful rescue," she said.
"It's been an overwhelming year for sure and it really hasn't stopped … so just thank you. I've got all your backs if you're ever in trouble. I would do it again."