Kathy Furneaux (right), executive director of the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute, presents the 2010 New York State Bus Driver Heroism Award to Cristina Rickert. Rickert stopped her school bus when she saw students playing recklessly on a snow bank on the side of the road. One of the students then slid under the wheels of her bus.
NEW CITY, N.Y. — This past winter, Clarkstown Central School District bus driver Cristina Rickert stopped her school bus out of concern for three students that she noticed playing on top of a snow bank not far from the side of the road.
Shortly thereafter, one of the students slid under the wheels of Rickert’s school bus. Although she did not see the student sliding onto the road, she sensed the danger in the students’ reckless play and disregard for safety, school district officials said.
For her actions, Rickert has received the 2010 New York State Bus Driver Heroism Award. The award is bestowed jointly by the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute and the New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT). Rickert was honored on July 11 before an audience of 500 in Saratoga Springs at the NYAPT Annual Safety Conference.
“We are very fortunate that due to Ms. Rickert’s skill, experience and judgment, [the students’ disregard] for their personal safety that winter day did not end in tragedy,” Clarkstown Superintendent of Schools Dr. Margaret Keller-Cogan said. “Her actions were exemplary and her commitment to safety is what parents envision when they put their children on Clarkstown school buses. I congratulate her on receipt of this award.”
"All I did was what we've been trained to do at work. This award is really for all of us at Clarkstown," Rickert said as she accepted the award.