The Belt’s Operation Lifesaver tradition is going strong.
Belt volunteers led more OLI presentations than ever, cruising past the 10,000 mark and landing at 11,277 for 2019.
Volunteers include Switchman Joe Chacon, Police Chief Gerald Conoboy, Carman John Lucio, Patrolman Young Lee, Sgt. Ramon Ortiz and Patrolman Mike Perry. Ortiz is credited with spearheading and coordinating the effort to put on nearly 80 presentations last year.
“It’s a worthy cause,” he said. “People can become complacent, and the presentations are a reminder that there’s a danger out there. It’s absolutely a team effort.”
Many presentations, offered free of charge, occurred at local elementary and high schools, such as Azuela School near the Kenton Line, Kennedy High School and the newly opened John C. Dore Elementary School. But Belt volunteers, each specially trained and certified to deliver presentations, also participated in neighboring communities’ open house events to spread their message as well as summer camps. Some presentations were directed at local school bus companies and others were conducted at various industries, coinciding with their own “safety day” activities.
“We have a good team that works really well together,” Conoboy said. “We’re building relationships between the Belt Railway and the public.”