Woman Who Died Saving Stranded Opossum Receives Posthumous PETA Award

Wildlife Rescuer Was Known for Her Compassion for All Living Beings

For Immediate Release:
May 20, 2015

Shakira Croce 202-483-7382

Shiloh, Ill. – Shiloh resident Sandie Konopelski, 58, was courageously attempting to save the life of an opossum stranded on the MetroLink train tracks last month when she was struck and killed by a train. For her compassion and selfless bravery, she will receive a commemorative leaf on PETA’s “Tree of Life” memorial at its headquarters—a monument honoring those whose actions have made a positive difference for animals. Konopelski’s leaf inscription—written by her husband—will read:




“Sandie, who rescued nearly 500 animals in the last year alone, was a formidable force of compassion in her community,” says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. “PETA is honoring the kindness she brought to the world around her and encouraging others to follow her example and extend the same empathy to all living beings.”

Konopelski dedicated more than 20 years of her life to wildlife rescue, and PETA has made a donation in her name to the wildlife organization that she worked with, Bi-State Wildlife Hotline. Her family will also receive a duplicate leaf with a note of appreciation from PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way.”

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind