The Citizen of the Year committee awarded the 2018 Bedford County Citizens of the Year winners.
The committee chose Robert Walls and Gillian Leach as this year’s winners.
Walls helped coordinate the evacuation of more than 1,100 residents from Hyndman and Londonderry Township during the 2017 train derailment.
“I hope to never have to go through it again, but it’s something I will never forget ,” Walls told us.
Walls was one of the people who made sure no one got hurt that August day. He risked his life to save others. He even drove a school bus back and fourth to the scene to make sure people were evacuated.
“The hot zone was a very dangerous place,” Dave Cubbison, from the Bedford County EMA, said. “At that time we believe there was an explosion and Bob returned again and again and again to collect people and take them to a place of safety.”
Walls has also been working on bringing cell service to the area, something he had to work without during that emergency last year.
The second honoree is Leach.
Leach is the Executive Director of the Bedford County Historical Society. For nearly 40-years, she has been dedicated to preserving and celebrating the history of the area.
“It’s a love,” she told us. “It’s a love of this area, a love of the people and the history of this area. You can’t beat it.”
Leach has made it possible to collect the history of local families and has helped thousands gather genealogical information.
The ceremony was held Monday night at the Bedford Elks.