People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals on Wednesday announced a posthumous award for Sandie Konopelski, the 58-year-old Shiloh woman who was struck and killed by a MetroLink train while trying to rescue a stranded opossum on the tracks on April 24 in Swansea.
PETA spokeswoman Stefanie Jaffa said a commemorative golden leaf will be added to the Tree of Life monument in the organization’s Norfolk, Va., headquarters.
“PETA is grateful to Sandie for the 20-plus years she spent rescuing and rehabbing wildlife,” Jaffa said. “We’re always keeping an eye out for people like Sandie who set a tremendous example for everyone else. This ended in tragedy, but this is someone who dedicated her life to animals.”
Jaffa said the commemorative leaf’s inscription will read “In Loving Memory of Sandie Konopelski, The Critter Helper,” a nod to the nickname Konopelski earned over her years rescuing and rehabilitating animals in Southern Illinois.
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PETA also will make a $300 donation to the Bi-State Wildlife Hotline, the organization Konopelski worked for.
Konopelski went to the tracks in Swansea the morning of April 24 after someone reported a stranded opossum on the tracks. Bi-State president Angel Wintrode said last month that Konopelski received that report from Metro, but the transportation agency hasn’t spoken publicly about what happened.
Wintrode could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Police continue to investigate the incident.