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June 23, 2010  |   Comments (1)   |   Post a comment

First Student honors veteran school bus drivers, aides


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CINCINNATI — First Student Inc. recently recognized 65 school bus drivers and aides across the U.S. and Canada who have worked for the company safely transporting students for 40 years or more.

“These drivers epitomize what it means to be a school bus driver, as they are committed to the safety of the children they transport,” said Linda Burtwistle, president of First Student. “They are fixtures in the community and their dedication is unmatched. We are proud they are members of the First Student team.”

The drivers and aides who have completed at least 40 years of service to their communities are:

Mildred Abt — Schofield, Wis.
Beverly Acker — Kingston, N.Y.
Frank Agresti — Rochester, N.Y.
Harriet Arms — Buffalo, N.Y.
Martha Arnold — O'Fallon, Ill.   
Christa Auth — Prairie View, Ill.
Vernon Ayres — Vernon, Ontario
George Baessler — Kitchener, Ontario
Lawrence Barber — Rochester, N.Y.
Annmarie Benjamin — San Francisco
Robert Bliefernicht — Deforest, Wis.
Martha Bottary — Brockton, Mass.
Patricia Bowman — Tonka Bay, Minn.
Vivian Burkhart — Pittsburgh
Joann Caizzi — Hanson, Mass.   
Diane Cheatham — Cologne, N.J.
Frances Clark — Hodgkins, Ill.   
June Connors — Hanson, Mass.
Claire Duncan — Monmouth Junction, N.J.
Rosemarie Fullone  —  Schaumburg, Ill.
Yvon Geneau — Pointe Claire, Quebec
Ruth Glase — Macungie, Pa.       
Martha Gregory — Berlin, N.J.   
Joan Halstead — Georgetown, Ontario
Ardis Hanson — Tonka Bay, Minn.   
Carol Harper-Falconer — Prairie View, Ill.
Shirley Harrell — Lawrence, Kan.   
James Hehir — Buffalo, N.Y.   
Richard Kendall — Berlin, N.J.   
James Lahaye — Plymouth, Mass.
Donald Lasenby — Sarnia, Ontario
Edwina Laubisch — Buffalo, N.Y.
Karen Libby — Grand Ridge, Ill. 
Helen Lincoln — Brockton, Mass. 
William Luksch — Buffalo, N.Y.     
T.J. Mangione — Buffalo, N.Y.     
May Mattiace — Lincoln Park, N.J.     
James McCrite — Scott City, Mo.     
Carol Neubecker — San Francisco     
Michael O’Brien — Buffalo, N.Y.     
Murray Ormberg — Rimbey, Alberta 
Kathryn Ortmann — Billings, Mont.     
Paul Page — King City, Ontario     
Audrey Peltier — Calgary, Alberta 
Alexander Petroski — Buffalo, N.Y.     
Barbara Place — Hanson, Mass. 
Clorinda Portscheller — Amityville, N.Y. 
John Powers — Buffalo, N.Y.     
Don Reid — Burlington, Ontario     
Eugene Reigle — Rochester, N.Y.     
Anna Ricci — Cologne, N.J.         
Sharon Richter — O’Fallon, Ill.     
Martha Roach — Grand Ridge, Ill.     
Kay Rowden — Parkville, Mo. 
Beatrice Roy — Merrimac, Mass.     
F.D. Ryan — Buffalo, N.Y.     
Brigitte Sagan — Prairie View, Ill.     
Henry Schweikarth — Wall, Pa.     
Norma Sherwood — Berlin, N.J.     
Glenn Siercks — Rochester, Minn.
Dale Sutton — San Francisco         
Sylvia Sweet — Richmond, Calif.
Dorothy Van Straten — Green Bay, Wis. 
Helen Vinopal — Westmont, Ill.
Adeline Wunderlich — Hicksville, N.Y.

First Student drivers undergo extensive training to ensure that they provide safe transportation for students. New drivers must complete more than 50 hours of in-classroom, behind-the-wheel and safety orientation training before driving a bus. 

Moreover, in addition to state- and school district-mandated training, First Student also conducts monthly in-service meetings throughout the year to discuss various safety topics as well as review company policies and procedures.

In other news, First Student parent company FirstGroup America has joined the National Safety Council to raise awareness for National Safety Month by reminding motorists to turn off mobile devices while driving.

The company is an advocate of distracted driving prevention. In 2008, FirstGroup established a companywide policy prohibiting all employees or contractors on company business from using a mobile device, either hand-held or hands-free, while driving.  Employees across all divisions of the company are instructed to pull over at a safe location and turn off their engine before making a call or sending a text message, and they are encouraged to apply this practice in their personal lives as well. 

“Driving is a visual task, and it requires a motorist’s full attention,” said Gary Catapano, FirstGroup America senior vice president of safety. “Texting, making phones calls and searching for music all cause momentary distractions that place people at risk.”

FirstGroup has issued the following tips for drivers to help prevent dangerous driving activity:

• Do not use cell phones, iPods or BlackBerrys while driving. Drivers should pull over to make phone calls, change their playlists or send texts.

• Eliminate daily distractions such as putting on makeup or eating while driving. 

• Pay particular attention to heeding school bus stop arms, as children may be present.

• Remain alert at all times.


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Hey Dan, didn't know you get School Bus Fleet! I was surprised at the notice I received and didn't know it was in the Fleet Mag. I received a very pretty ring for my years of service. Thanks for posting this. Carol (Ma to you)

Carol Harper-Falconer    |    Sep 12, 2010 07:31 PM

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