nvdaily.com link to home page

Traffic | Weather | Mobile Edition
Archives | Subscribe

Local News arrow Fire & Rescue arrow Front Royal arrow Traffic & Transportation

| 0 | 1 Comment

Tough guy: Train crash survivor, 92, is back on the job

View larger image

Town employee Philip Funk, 92, stands at the Manassas Avenue recycling site. Funk was hit while in his vehicle by a train at a crossing last September and is now back at work. Rich Cooley/Daily

By Joe Beck -- jbeck@nvdaily.com

Philip E. Funk is quite a survivor, and not just because at age 92 he still shows up for work 20 hours a week at the town of Front Royal's recycling center.

Luck was with him when a passing freight locomotive hit his car in September and nearly took his life only a few yards from his workplace, a tiny guardhouse at the entrance to the recycling center.

Few live to tell others of such an experience, but Funk is one of them.

His spoke with a hint of wonderment about his brush with death as he recently recalled the moments after the train barreled into the front of his car at the intersection of Manassas Avenue and Sixth Street.

"It clipped the front of the car," Funk said. "It put the transmission in the motor. It popped the radio in my lap."

The collision occurred just after 1 p.m. Funk had left his job at the recycling center and was heading toward Seventh Street at about 10 mph when the locomotive appeared to the right, heading toward his 1994 Buick Century. The eastbound train's impact, at a speed later estimated to be 22 mph, threw Funk and his car about 100 feet east before coming to a rest along a fence owned by the town.

His friend and co-worker, Art Hisserman, had just replaced Funk at the guardhouse. He remembers the accident vividly.

"I looked up and saw the car by the fence," Hisserman said, and then exclaimed and called 911.

Funk said he stayed conscious throughout the ordeal. His pelvis was broken. His liver was filling with blood. His arm was badly scraped. But he was alive.

"It's a wonder I didn't get hurt more than that," Funk said. "They found my glasses on the second step of the train."

Hisserman was also astonished to find Funk had survived, an outcome he attributed to Funk wearing a seat belt.

"That seat belt saved him, I'm sure," Hisserman said.

Funk blames himself for what happened. After the accident, he met with a representative of the Norfolk Southern railroad and told him he would not be filing a lawsuit.

"I said, 'Why should I try to sue because of my own dumbness?'" Funk recalled.

He took a while to recover from his injuries while staying at a long term care center at Warren Memorial Hospital and his home on Long Meadow Road in Middletown. But four months later he was back on the job.

Town manager Steve Burke said the town kept in contact with Funk through his family as his injuries healed.

"Based on input we received from his family, we expected him to return to work, so we filled his position with a temporary worker until he was ready to resume his job," Burke said.

Funk said he had no doubts about wanting to return to work, especially after his two doctors at the Veterans Administration discouraged him from changing a routine that has allowed him to fend off the worst effects of old age.

"They said, 'keep doing what you're doing,'" Funk said. "If you sit down, that will be it."

Funk has worked with the town for 27 years, the last 13 at the recycling center. His job is to keep a log of the cars coming and going from the center and checking them for proper residency identification. The railroad tracks he has been crossing on his way to and from work since 1999 are still there, but the traumatic lesson from the crash has made him more cautious than ever as he approaches the intersection.

Everything else has remained the same, he said. He is still Philip Funk, doing his job the way he always has: steady, reliable, and above all, resilient.

1 Comment

Mr. Funk says he told Southern Railroad he wasn't going to sue them, which is commendable given that the lawyers would probably gain the most from it. I'm just curious though, did the train engineer sound the horn as he approached the crossing? If not, then maybe he should reconsider suing, as a lawsuit may make the engineer more likely to sound his horn. If the engineer did sound the horn and Mr. Funk didn't hear it or ignored it then maybe Mr. Funk should turn in his driver's license. Just sayin'....

Leave a comment

What do you think?

(You may use HTML tags for style)


Comments that are posted on nvdaily.com represent the opinion of the commenter and not the Northern Virginia Daily/nvdaily.com. If you feel that a comment is objectionable, please click on the Report Abuse link above and in your e-mail to us include the comment. We will review the reported comment and make a decision on deleting it if we feel that it contains inappropriate content.


Look Who 'Likes' nvdaily!

Daily readers: Click the "LIKE" button above to get Daily news and breaking news alerts on your Facebook page.

Activity & Recommendations

Local News Sections

Agency on Aging Agriculture AP Wire Features Apple Blossom Festival Aviation Basye Berryville Bob Wooten Boyce Breaking News Business Charities Charles Pannunzio Civil War Clarke County Colleges Corrections Courthouse Notes: Permits, Transactions Courts & Legal News Crime & Public Safety Economy and Jobs Edinburg Education Edward N. Bell Election 2012 Entertainment Environment Fairs & Festivals Fire & Rescue Fort Valley Frederick County Front Royal George Washington National Forest Guest Column Hard Times Health History Homes In The Spotlight Ledger Livestock Local Markets Maurertown Media Middletown Military & Veterans Moms Mt. Jackson New Market Page County Pets & Animals Politics Quicksburg Religion RSW Jail School News Shenandoah County Shenandoah Farms Volunteer Fire Department Star Tannery State Stephens City Strasburg Toms Brook Traffic & Transportation Utilities Warren County Weather West Virginia Winchester Woodstock Year in Review

News | Sports | Business | Lifestyle | Obituaries | Opinion | Multimedia| Entertainment | Homes | Classifieds
Contact Us | NIE | Place a Classified | Privacy Policy | Subscribe

Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily | nvdaily.com | 152 N. Holliday St., Strasburg, Va. 22657 | (800) 296-5137

Best Small Daily Newspaper in Virginia!

nvdaily.com | seeshenandoah.com