Operation Lifesaver visits Winona State


Mohammed Islam

Cheryl Cummings, the head of Minnesota operations, promotes rail safety during the “Operation Life Saver Minnesota” event outside of Kryzsko Commons on Wednesday, Sept. 25.

Kristin Kovalsky, News Reporter

Operation Lifesaver Minnesota was on Winona State University’s campus on Wednesday, Sept. 25, educating students about train safety.

Every three hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train. The purpose of Operation Lifesaver is to educate people about train and rail safety and to reduce the number of train-related incidents per year.

The organization was created in 1972, and has now become international.

Sheryl Cummings, executive director of Operation Lifesaver Minnesota, is trying to make people more aware of train safety.

“It’s the mindset that we’re really trying to change, you know the train can come at any time and it can come more quickly than we expect it to come. It’s an optical illusion down the tracks, it looks like it is farther away and moving slower than it really is,” Cummings said.

There are precautions to take to ensure that you are being safe around train tracks.

“Avoid distractions if at all possible, always have at least one earbud out so that you can be aware of your surroundings. Don’t get distracted by your phone, don’t be distracted by friends in the vehicle and always making sure you’re watching for trains when you’re approaching the tracks,” Cummings said.

Operation Lifesaver is made up of authorized volunteers, and those volunteers educate students of all levels about rail safety.

Jeanine Black, authorized volunteer for Operation Lifesaver Minnesota, worked in the rail and transit industry for 20 years before becoming a volunteer.

“While I was working, I didn’t have time to do this volunteer work. Now that I’m in Winona, I have time. I volunteer because I feel that I’m doing good by educating people to help save lives,” Black said.