Alert Track Foreman to the Rescue

July 2022 – If you work 28 years on the railroad like Willis Iverson has, certain processes might become so familiar that you don’t give them much thought.

But despite having ridden hundreds of times in a work truck, trailing equipment on the right of way to get to the next place to work on the line, the track foreman of the Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad (KO) took notice that his co-worker, up ahead on a backhoe, was having an issue.

It was a morning in late March, while working in central Kansas on the Geneseo Sub near Lyons, when Willis observed Jake McCullough trying to waive the truck in his direction. When Iverson caught up with McCullough, he saw that his teammate was having trouble speaking and couldn’t move his right arm. Recognizing the signs of a stroke, Iverson and two KO teammates sprang into action to help McCullough. Nazim Russell-Elizee drove McCullough straight to Rice County District Hospital in Lyons. Christian Iverson helped McCullough communicate with the hospital staff.

Willis Iverson’s supervisor, Roadmaster Steven Morgan, was with General Manager Loren Bradford in McPherson when they got a call from Iverson about what had happened. They have since absorbed the significance of Iverson’s actions. Bradford notes, “His quick thinking and attentiveness to Jake and the situation potentially saved Jake from having any serious impacts from the episode and got him the medical treatment he needed in a timely fashion.” Morgan adds that the quick medical attention led to the discovery of a congenital heart defect that likely contributed to McCullough’s stroke.

Morgan talks on the phone frequently to McCullough, who reports that “Every day is better than the last.” He is recovering and preparing for treatment of his heart.

See more stories