Governor George H. Ryan and the Illinois Department of Public Health today honored emergency medical services personnel, firefighters, police and citizens who responded to the tragic crash of Amtrak's City of New Orleans passenger train.
"To those who assisted in this tragedy -- the rescue teams that performed their duties, the hospitals and their staffs, the citizens who became good Samaritans, the police officers and firefighters -- we owe our sincere appreciation and gratitude," Ryan said.
In a ceremony in the Bourbonnais Village Hall, Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, presented six "Governor's Awards" to the Village of Bourbonnais, represented by Mayor Grover Brooks, the Bourbonnais Fire Protection District, the Bourbonnais Police Department, the Kankakee County Sheriff's Department, Provena St. Mary's Hospital and Riverside Medical Center for exemplary care, compassion and response in an emergency.
Governor Ryan commended the untold number of citizens, volunteers and passengers on the train who assisted the injured and helped rescue survivors from the wreckage. The March 15 crash killed 11 passengers and injured more than 100 others. The Amtrak Superliner, which left Chicago en route to New Orleans, shortly after 9:30 p.m. slammed into a semi-trailer truck at a crossing on McKnight Road, west of Route 50, in Bourbonnais.
"We pray that a tragedy like this will never befall us again," Dr. Lumpkin said. "But it is comforting to know that, if it does occur, our citizens are prepared to act. There are trained professionals and good, caring citizens who will rise to the occasion to care for the critically injured and to provide comfort and compassion."
Approximately 30 fire departments, 300 emergency workers and dozens of local residents, workers from a nearby steel mill and passengers assisted in helping to comfort the injured and others on board the train.