The Press Newspaper
During its Dec. 18 meeting, the Oregon Board of Education recognized four bus drivers for going above and beyond their usual job requirements.
Bus drivers Pam Ray, Judy Brower, Sue McKeen and Mary Ankney all received special recognition for providing excellent service.
Bus drivers were nominated by parents in the district for the recognition.
Kendra Fortier, whose daughter Grace and son Spencer attend Jerusalem Elementary School, may have been the impetus for the special recognitions.
“Grace had left her weekly folder on the bus,” Fortier explained after the meeting. “Ms. Mary (Ankney) saw the folder, looked up our address, and delivered it. My husband, Kirk and I were very surprised by that. She took time out of her day, after work, to bring the folder to my house so my daughter would not get into trouble at school for not doing her homework.”
Fortier posted her positive remarks on Facebook, which was “liked” by Jeff Ziviski, a school board member.
“Ziviski brought up my post at a board meeting and the members decided they wanted to nominate Ms. Mary for special recognition because she went above and beyond what she had to do,” Fortier said. “Other people started commenting on their bus drivers also going above and beyond as well. Bus drivers are very important. They get our kids safely to and from school and I don’t think they get a lot of recognition.”
McKeen, who drives bus #54, was nominated by Betsy Langford after her daughter, Makenna, left her lunch bag on the bus on a Friday afternoon.
“She (McKeen) offered to bring the lunch bag to my house on a Saturday,” Langford said. “Now, that is service.”
This was not the first time McKeen has gone out of her way for a child, Langford said.
“When our son, Carson was younger, she did not let him off of the bus until she called our home to make sure someone was home,” Langford said. “She is wonderful with the kids and she is always very courteous. I have faith in her. She is always looking out for the kids.”
Ray, who drives bus #60, was nominated by a parent for taking care of a young student who tends to fall asleep on the bus.
“Our daughter is usually the first one on and last off the bus,” the parent wrote.” It makes for a long day for a 5-year-old used to taking naps. Miss Pam has had to put the bus in park, lights blinking and get up out of her seat to wake our daughter up on the way home. So sweet. She also has her wait on the bus before getting off to make sure we're there. When we see her out in public, she always smiles, waves, and says, ‘Hi.’ I love how they look out for our little ones.”
Brower, driver of bus #50, was recognized for providing treats to her young riders at Christmas and on the last day of school.
“She is a great communicator and really looks out for our kids,” the parent wrote.” The kids love her.”
Ziviski said parents were so thrilled with the service they have received from their bus drivers that they wanted to share their stories.
“As a school district, we have many employees in various capacities that do such a wonderful job in their roles and add little touches that really go a long way in building goodwill with our parents,” said Ziviski. “Bus drivers do more than just pick up and drop off the children. They ensure that each student gets to school and home each day safely and with all their belongings.”
Ziviski added, “Our drivers go above and beyond the normal expectations and offer personalized care to each child. The children love the extra attention and the parents are comforted knowing that their child is safe and secure. It comes down to providing outstanding customer service and our bus drivers excel at this.”
Ray said after the meeting that she was very surprised and pleased to have received the recognition. “I was notified that a parent had called and they were very happy with how I treat their daughter,” she said “I was just doing my job. That is what my job is. To make sure the children get to school and home safely.”
A driver for 20 years, Ray said she has never had a bad day on the job.
“You really have to love your job and have some patience to deal with children,” Ray said. “But the children make it all worthwhile. The best part of the job, for me, is getting to meet the new children each fall and seeing kids I used to drive graduate from high school. Some of the kids come up to me at a game, after they have graduated, just to say ‘Hi.’ It means a lot that I made an impression on them.”
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