It was around 7:30 p.m. in CP’s London, Ont. yard, when Locomotive Engineer Fletcher radioed Sykes with a job request and did not get a response. Puzzled, Fletcher headed over to check on Sykes and found him lying beside the tracks.
“When Gareth didn’t acknowledge my radio calls, I immediately headed over to check on him. As soon as I saw him lying on the ground, I knew I had to act fast; he was non-responsive and barely breathing,” said Fletcher.
Fletcher immediately radioed to the tower to request help. Assistant Trainmaster Ken Duffy was on duty in the tower. Duffy rushed over and the two men began performing life-saving CPR on Sykes.
“I could tell from Tim’s voice that Gareth was in trouble and I had to get there as soon as I could,” said Duffy. “I didn’t know what to expect upon arrival, but I am very glad we were able to assist until EMS arrived.”
Machine Operator Scott Milliken, was also on duty that evening and overheard Fletcher’s call for help over the radio. He offered his assistance right away. With a hi-rail truck, Milliken guided first responders to the scene and back to the ambulance with Sykes in their care.
“I happened to be working in the area and overheard the radio conversation,” said Milliken. “I immediately got track protection and requested another employee to assist me with managing traffic at the crossing so first responders could enter the premises quickly and safely.
“When EMS arrived, I asked them to jump in my hi-rail truck, as it was much faster and safer to take them to the scene rather than having them walk across several yard tracks.”
Because of the diligence displayed and quick-response by these three life-saving railroaders, Sykes, an employee with 36 years of service, has since recovered and returned to work. His story has a positive outcome, one for which our CP family is forever grateful.
Shortly after the incident, CP recognized Duffy, Fletcher and Milliken’s heroic efforts with CEO On The Spot awards, including a framed coin and personal letter from President and CEO Keith Creel.
Their exemplary actions on that fateful evening underscore the importance of CPR training, which CP offers to all employees. Their efforts were further recognized at this year’s CEO Awards for Excellence gala, where each was presented an award under the category of Community Hero.