Hale, a retired Union Pacific employee and OLI volunteer for more than 19 years, received the F. Tom Roberts Memorial Volunteer Award “for his prodigious rail safety education efforts,” OLI President and CEO Joyce Rose said. “In 2013 alone, he conducted 547 presentations, traveling almost 14,000 miles, and reaching an audience of 23,150 people in the state of Arkansas.”
Pepper, recently retired from Kansas City Southern Railway and from a position on the OLI board of directors, received the Operation Lifesaver Champion Award “for being a champion of rail safety education in the law enforcement and first responder communities over his career,” said Rose. “Allen has held a wide range of safety roles in his career, including locomotive engineer, railroad special agent, Mississippi highway patrol officer, and railroad public safety official. He became involved with Operation Lifesaver in the 1990s, lending his expertise to our programs both nationally and in six states. He has been instrumental in shaping OLI’s Grade Crossing and Collision Investigation and Rail Safety for Emergency Responder programs.”
Eight additional nominees for the F. Tom Roberts award were also recognized at the dinner: Earl Roider of Stockton, Calif.; Alex Goff of Newington, Conn.; George Bollinger of Jacksonville, Fla.; Darlene Osterhaus of Topeka, Kan.; Thomas Schmidt of New Orleans, La.; Alan Stouder of Pioneer, Ohio; Eddie Kroutter of Broken Arrow, Okla.; and Randy Mulkey of Cheyenne, Wyo.
“We are proud to present these prestigious awards to Ron Hale and Allen Pepper, honoring them for their dedication to saving lives on behalf of Operation Lifesaver,” said Rose. “These individuals truly exemplify the passion and creativity of our volunteers and partners.”
Started in 1994 in memory of a man who dedicated the majority of his life to reducing or eliminating death and injuries along railroad tracks, the F. Tom Roberts Memorial Award honors an individual who has demonstrated outstanding dedication to safety in the number of volunteer hours committed to Operation Lifesaver annually, the nature of volunteer activities performed, and other personal contributions to the Operation Lifesaver program.
Established in 2010 to recognize people inside or outside of the Operation Lifesaver program who advance OLI’s community safety goals, the Champion Award honors an individual who through their work has contributed significantly to the mission of Operation Lifesaver in the past two years, in any of the three “E” components of rail safety: education, enforcement, or engineering.