WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - A Vermont family is using their personal tragedy, and one of the country’s busiest rail-road stations as a platform to tell people to stay off the tracks.
Forty million visitors pass through Washington D.C.’s Union Station every year. It served as Nancy Kenyon Richardson’s destination Monday, as she shared her pain with the country.
Days after what would have been her adopted son’s birthday, she clutched a picture of him. His ashes hung from her necklace.
“He was the son who always felt the need to protect us,” she said, “his biggest fear was losing a member of the family he waited so long to find.”
Kevin Kenyon died in May, 2015. A train hit him as he took a shortcut to work. He couldn’t hear it approaching over the sound of his headphones. Now, his adopted family is willing to go to any length to help others understand the danger of walking along train tracks.
“Kevin, this is our birthday gift to you,” his mother said, “please help us keep people off the tracks so no other family has to feel this, we love you.”
Nancy and her family aren’t the only ones struggling through this kind of grief and pain. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, a person or car gets hit by a train every few hours. “We know these people, they are our neighbors, our friends, our family members,” said Jamie Rennert of the F.R.A.
Government and industry representatives say technological and engineering improvements dramatically cut-down on rail-road crossing deaths since the 1970’s. They said the most-effective way to do better is to make the public better informed.
“It is critical that citizens in every corner of the country fully-understand the dangers and consequences of trespassing on railroad property,” said Amtrak Chief of Police Neil Trugman.
“Kevin paid with his life, and our family have paid with our hearts,” said Nancy Kenyon Richardson.
Law enforcement will be out across the country at known problem spots Tuesday. They’ll be issuing tickets to those who trespass or improperly cross tracks – adding a bit of force to Nancy’s warnings.