Track Inspector Gives His Best Every Day

SEPTEMBER 2022 — Track Inspector Sam Winegarner starts his day early on the Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad (KO).

For Winegarner, it doesn’t matter that he’s technically off the clock. Each day he looks forward to learning how the night went from his teammates wrapping up their shifts. With a cup of coffee in one hand, he listens intently to what they have to say. Based on the team’s feedback, he puts a mental to-do list together for the day.  

Roadmaster Herb Lamkin said, “Sam takes pride in his work. He regularly communicates with train crews to make sure the track is ready and serviceable.” 

Another way he ensures the track is maintained is by working alongside and being a mentor to the foreman and track laborers. With 20 years of experience on the KO, he knows all too well what it’s like to be in their shoes. 

“He doesn’t just direct them. He works alongside them in many cases,” Lamkin said. “Sam is there to answer any questions and he’s always emphasizing safety, especially with new team members.” 

His work ethic has made him an invaluable leader to the KO. Lamkin said, “If I’m not available, Sam is the No. 2 go-to track person at the KO in Wichita. The team here knows they can always call and depend on Sam.” 

For Winegarner, helping others doesn’t stop at the end of the workday. He spends his spare time giving back to the community throughout the year. An avid biker, he participates in local motorcycle charity drives. He also helps organize an annual Toys for Tots drive and honors past heroes by placing flags on cemetery headstones every Memorial Day. 

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