Julie Callaghan shows her right hand after a partial amputation on Oct. 21, 2019, 17 months after she tried to save a man stuck on a railway crossing in Chilliwack. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Chilliwack woman to receive heroism medal Friday

Julie Callaghan seriously injured when she tried to save a man stuck in wheelchair on rail tracks

A representative from the U.S.-based Carnegie Hero Fund Commission will be in Chilliwack Friday to present Julie Callaghan with a medal for extraordinary heroism.

Callaghan is the Chilliwack woman who tried, along with another woman, to free 40-year-old Matthew Jarvis whose wheelchair was stuck in the tracks at the rail crossing at Broadway Avenue on May 26, 2018.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack woman who tried to save man stuck on rail tracks called a ‘hero’

The train was travelling at about 80 kilometres an hour and the women had just seconds to act. They tried to lift the wheelchair out from the path of the train, but were unsuccessful.

Jarvis died and Callaghan’s hand was severely damaged when it was struck by the train.

Her actions were called heroic by many.

“This woman was a true hero,” witness Mary-Jane Warkentin said in a Facebook post. “She ran from her car to try to save the man and ended up injured due to her heroic action.”

Callaghan’s pinky, ring and middle fingers and part of her hand were amputated on Oct. 21 leaving her with ongoing pain, rehabilitation, and considerable expenses.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack woman struck by train while trying to save man has partial hand amputation

In June of this year, the Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Hero Fund Commission named Callaghan as one of 18 civilians to be recognized with a medal.

A representative is scheduled to be at the Chilliwack RCMP detachment Friday afternoon to present Callaghan with her medal.

See www.theprogress.com for updates on this story.


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