City Council recognizes acts of bravery by four VIA employees, one passenger

   April 30, 2012 Via council presentation

From left to right:  Mayor Rick Goldring; Warrant Officer Wayne Easterbrook;
VIA Rail employees: 
Luis Calhau (on behalf of Ceilidh Gillies); Dean Melnyk;
Joette Cantafio and Greg Mohoruk and Burlington Fire Chief Shayne Mintz

Burlington, Ont., April 30, 2012 – Mayor Rick Goldring tonight presented certificates of recognition to five people, including one Warrant Officer aboard VIA Rail train 92 that derailed in Burlington on Feb. 26 and four VIA staff who helped those in need.

“On behalf of City Council, I would like to recognize your brave and selfless acts,” Mayor Goldring said. “Each of you contributed in a different and important way to the well-being of those who needed you so urgently following the tragic circumstances of the February VIA train derailment.”

VIA Rail Canada responded with its own thanks to the City of Burlington and all the emergency responders who helped following the accident.

“On behalf of my fellow employees at VIA Rail, and especially on behalf of our customers who were on train 92 on February 26, I extend our heartfelt appreciation to the City of Burlington, the personnel at the various emergency services who helped that day and in the days following, as well as the many others who offered whatever help they could,” said Luis Calhau, Manager of Customer Experience. “Your response was rapid, professional, and most of all, caring. It is our honour to be here tonight to receive awards.”

Recipients and their Stories 

Wayne Easterbrook 
Wayne Easterbrook, a Warrant officer with the Canadian Armed Forces, assisted many people on board the lead passenger car prior to, and after, the arrival of emergency services personnel. He stayed to assist even after his wife was significantly injured and taken from the scene.

Joette Cantafio and Greg Mohoruk
VIA employees Joette and Greg were at home here in Burlington on Feb. 26, enjoying their Sunday off, when they heard about the derailment. They went to the site right away to volunteer their help.

Joette and Greg canvassed passengers for vital information such as names, addresses and final destination, reassuring them that they would be taken care of. Greg helped to gather luggage that had been collected from the train, transferring it to the waiting bus. Joette stayed with the passengers for the bus transfer to Toronto. Once there, she made sure that everyone's needs were taken care of.

Ceilidh Gillies
VIA employee Ceilidh Gillies was on the train alone in the last car at the time of the derailment. Ceilidh helped gather information from the manifest and confirmed that there were three employees in the engine car.  She made several calls from that car to VIA, which assisted in a quick response.

Dean Melnyk
VIA service manager 

Dean Melnyk was on the train at the time of the derailment. Melnyk stayed on the train until almost all patients had been removed from the lead passenger car, even though he had also been injured. He assisted crews with moving patients from the train and helped with French translation for the large number of passengers who have French for a first language.  

– 30 –

Communications contact:
Donna Kell
Manager, Public Affairs
Phone: 905-335-7600, ext. 7841

Media contact:
Mayor Rick Goldring
City of Burlington
Phone: 905-335-7600, ext. 7607


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