By Ron VandenBoom
Mary Berg has been co-chairperson of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Division Safety Committee for four years and a member for more years than she cares to remember.
She is also a member of the federal version of a safety committee known as SCAT and as local chairperson of the International Brotherhood of Firemen and Oilers (IBFO), she is also concerned over safety issues.
If that's not enough, she also does work for Health On Track an organization that works to educate employees about proper eating habits and the importance of working out.
Health On Track, with Berg's help, recently negotiated a deal with MSU-Northern to supply the university with workout equipment in exchange for BNSF employee use of the equipment and swimming pool.
Berg's continued efforts and concern for the safety of her fellow employees recently earned her the BNSF Hammond Award.
Presented at a special dinner in Fort Worth, Texas, Berg received a plaque, a dozen roses and a grandfather clock.
In nominating her for the award she was credited with playing "a significant and consistent role in BNSF's safety programs" and "exhibiting a high degree of safety awareness."
She was also credited with being instrumental in advising fellow workers of the significance of safe work procedures and rule observance.
She "initiates by ideas, programs and/or means, an atmosphere that promotes superior safety performance for others," the nomination reads.
Berg is also active in her free time promoting safety.
She has been an active member of the BN Hi-Liner Club and has been involved every year in the Havre Community Health And Safety Fair that will be held this year at the Havre Holiday Village Shopping Center on Saturday, May 13.
Health and safety takes many forms and Berg has also been active in Operation Stop an employee driven program to help employees with alcohol and drug problems. For three years Berg has been "Mrs. Clause" on the Santa Train during the holidays.
Local schools also know Berg from her efforts in the Operation Lifesaver program. She has given presentations in Kremlin on railroad crossing safety and what kids should do if the rules are not observed. Subjects also cover playing on railroad tracks and trying to beat trains over the crossing.
Berg has donned many a hardhat since she first slipped into the seat of a forklift at the old Burlington Northern Diesel Shop some 24 years ago.
Back then, the money and insurance were what attracted her to the railroad, but today it's the people.
"I love my job and I love the people I work with," she said.
It's a natural fit for Berg because she is a third generation Havre railroader both her father and her grandfather worked for the railroad.
Berg's concern for her fellow employees and her history with the railroad might be the reason she decided to plant a garden next to the Car Shop.
"The guys like fresh tomatoes with their lunches," she said.