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Ashworth, Kittendorf Named Recipients of Operation Lifesaver Volunteer Award

By Operation Lifesaver

WASHINGTON, DC, April 19, 2021 – Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI)  today named Debra Ashworth of Grand Island, Nebraska, and the late Delmar Kittendorf of Marietta, Georgia as co-winners of the F. Tom Roberts Memorial Volunteer Award in recognition of their rail safety education outreach efforts

“We are proud to name Debra Ashworth and Del Kittendorf as co-winners of this award, honoring their dedication to saving lives on behalf of Operation Lifesaver,” said Operation Lifesaver, Inc. Executive Director Rachel Maleh. “These individuals exemplify our amazing, passionate volunteers, who are making a difference every day in their communities.”

Started in 1994 in memory of a man who dedicated most of his life to reducing or eliminating death and injuries along railroad tracks, the F. Tom Roberts Memorial Volunteer Award honors an individual who has demonstrated outstanding dedication to safety in the number of volunteer hours committed to Operation Lifesaver (OL) annually, the nature of volunteer activities performed and other personal contributions to the Operation Lifesaver program.

Ashworth, a retired Union Pacific Railroad employee, has been an active Operation Lifesaver volunteer since 2010, logging more than 900 safety presentations to over 10,000 people since 2017 alone. She has worked to expand Nebraska OL’s partnerships with schools, first responders, driver education programs, photographer groups, K-12 students, and more. She participates on behalf of Nebraska OL in large state events like the Nebraska State Fair. Debra and her husband Mark, also an OLI volunteer, have taken the NE OL safety trailer to events throughout Nebraska. She also serves as an Operation Lifesaver Coach, training other volunteers.

Kittendorf, a retired Hewlett-Packard employee, was an active Georgia Operation Lifesaver volunteer from 2004 until his death in March 2020. He spent thousands of hours volunteering for Operation Lifesaver, incorporating the rail safety message in his activities with groups like the National Railway Historical Society, the Southeastern Railway Museum, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park, Amtrak’s National Park Service's Trails and Rails Program, the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, and the Florida East Coast Railway Society. He helped coordinate and staff GA OL displays at many events and conferences each year.

About Operation Lifesaver

Operation Lifesaver, Inc. is a non-profit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and preventing trespassing on or near railroad tracks. A national network of trained volunteers gives free presentations on rail safety and a public awareness campaign, “See Tracks? Think Train!” provides tips and statistics to encourage safe behavior near the tracks. Learn more about Rail Safety Week; follow OLI on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.


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