October 7, 2003

Operator Reported Suspected Arson Fire to Authorities

The Chicago Transit Board presented rail operator Hugh Hegarty with its 'spirit of Chicago? Award at its monthly meeting today. The 'spirit of Chicago? Award is presented to individuals in recognition of outstanding performance for the people of Chicago on behalf of the Chicago Transit Authority.

Hegarty, a 44-year CTA veteran, was recognized for noticing an early morning fire on September 9 while working aboard a Purple Line train. He immediately notified the CTA Control Center, which, in turn, notified the Chicago Fire Department.

?Hugh Hegarty demonstrated the qualities of character and public service that our bus and rail operators exhibit on a daily basis," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?We are proud of his concern for his fellow citizens and his fast thinking which enabled the fire department to respond quickly. The CTA is pleased to present him with the 'spirit of Chicago? Award."

The burning building located at 5533 North Broadway, is home to the offices of 48th Ward Alderman Mary Ann Smith, 48th Ward Democratic Committeeman Mike Volini, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, State Senator Carol Ronan, State Representative Harry Osterman, as well as other tenants.

In addition to the CTA's recognition, Hegarty was honored at last Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting, through a resolution introduced by Alderman Smith.

Hegarty has been a rail operator since joining the CTA in 1959. He also works as a line instructor training new operators. He served 28 years (1963 - 1991) as North Side Executive Board Member and as Secretary/Treasurer for Local 308 of the Amalgamated Transit Workers Union.

Hegarty and his family are lifelong Chicagoans who reside in Chicago's Edison Park neighborhood.

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