Ries Named Recipient of Operation Lifesaver’s Champion Award

Washington, D.C. (October 23, 2018) - The national rail safety education organization Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI) congratulates Ronald Ries for being selected as the recipient of the Champion Award for 2018. Ries recently accepted the honor at a meeting of OLI’s National Advisory Council where he has served as the federal agency representative for many years. Ries is the Staff Director of the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Highway-Rail Crossing and Trespasser Programs Division.

The Champion Award was established in 2010 to recognize people inside or outside of the Operation Lifesaver program who advance Operation Lifesaver’s community safety goals. The award honors an individual who, through their work, have contributed significantly to the mission in any of the three “E” components of rail safety: education, enforcement or engineering.

“I strongly believe that Operation Lifesaver makes a very big difference. Its message is important. Operation Lifesaver has been an organization that I put at the top of the list in my career,” says Ries. 

Ries joined the FRA in October 1994 as a Crossing and Trespasser Regional Manager. Four years later he began work on crossing safety and trespass prevention issues at FRA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. with the Crossing Safety and Trespass Prevention Programs team. Ries was appointed Staff Director of the crossing team in January 2001. He is retiring at the end of the year.

Ries’ involvement with OLI began early in his career when he chaired Iowa’s Operation Lifesaver governing committee. Since then, he has trained many of the educators who share OLI’s safety messages throughout the United States. In addition, Ries has been a frequent speaker about rail safety and trespass prevention. He helped create one of the first trespass prevention guides in the late 1990s – a joint project with OLI, and Transport Canada. The guide was adapted, and used by, FRA and Transport Canada. Ries’ career at FRA has also involved work with train horn regulations and quiet zones.

“Ron Ries exemplifies the word champion,” says Wende Corcoran, Interim President of OLI. “He’s been an integral part of our National Advisory Council and a vital supporter for the Operation Lifesaver state programs across the country. Ron understands the need for state and local community support. His passion concerning Operation Lifesaver’s mission of saving lives around tracks and trains is unmistakable and ever present in his work. We will miss his expertise and dedication. We wish him happiness in the next chapter of his life.”

About Operation Lifesaver - Operation Lifesaver is a nonprofit 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 the public with tips and statistics to encourage safe behavior near the tracks. OLI leads an international observance of Rail Safety Week each September. Learn more about Rail Safety Week; follow OLI on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.  

Media Contact

Operation Lifesaver, Inc. understands the importance of the news media’s role in helping the public make safe decisions around tracks and trains.

To request further information about Operation Lifesaver’s activities, or for additional safety information, email general[at]oli.org or contact our national headquarters office at 703-739-0308.

If you are a reporter seeking information for a local news story, view our list of state Operation Lifesaver program contacts.

If you are on deadline for a story and would like Operation Lifesaver, Inc.'s perspective on a highway-rail safety or trespass prevention topic, email news[at]oli.org

About Operation Lifesaver

Operation Lifesaver is a nonprofit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and trespassing on or near railroad tracks. Our team consists of nationwide network of volunteers who work to educate people about rail safety, state coordinators who lead the efforts in states across the U.S. and a national office in Washington, D.C., that supports state programs, develops education materials, and creates public awareness campaigns for audiences of all ages. 


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