Mayor Don Wesely today presented a key to the city to Mary Jean Higgins during a school assembly at Park Middle School. Higgins helped pull Park ninth-grader Raymond Rogers from underneath a train October 31. Raymond suffered foot injuries, but returned to school today.
Mayor Wesely said the city has been working with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Railroad Transportation Safety District (RTSD) for some time to build an overpass at the site of Raymond’s accident. Federal and state government officials are now reviewing the Environmental Project Report for the overpass, which would span "A" Street from about First to Fifth streets. If agreements are reached, the two-year project could begin in 2002. The project is estimated to cost about $10 million, which would come from the RTSD, the railroads and federal funds.
In the meantime, Wesely encouraged the students to be very careful around train tracks and to use the underpass built by the city and the RTSD several years ago at 3rd and "F" streets whenever possible. He also commended the school for conducting railroad safety classes. The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroad and the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Department were at the school today presenting "Operation Lifesaver" classes for the students.
To reward Higgins for her efforts, the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroad will present her with a check. Higgins plans to donate the money to Park Middle School and the People’s City Mission.
Park Principal Tim Carroll also presented Higgins with a plaque on behalf of the school for her efforts to save Raymond and for the donation.
Others attending the assembly today included Higgins’ father; her supervisors at Libra Safety Products; Raymond, his parents and brother; Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner; and a representative of the railroad.