Michael Kennedy (left), STA’s Atlantic Region COO, presented an award to Jeff Cote, of Manchester, N.H., in recognition of his 20-year career in the Air National Guard that included three tours of duty in Kuwait.
WALL, N.J. — Student Transportation of America (STA) and Student Transportation of Canada (STC) recently held their 2009 Honor Awards Program in Charleston, S.C., to recognize employees for extraordinary company, community and military service.
Employees who received special recognition included:
Connie Garcia of Williamstown, N.J., for 53 years of accident-free service. Garcia, who began driving for the Monroe Township School District when she was just 20 years old, comes from a family of professional drivers and was the first African-American female driver in Monroe and Washington Townships.
Henry "Hank" Martin of Altoona, Pa., an STA school van driver whose concern for children without proper winter attire led him to create Project Winter Warmth, a nonprofit that has been providing warm winter clothing to Pennsylvania schoolchildren since 1992.
Bus drivers Ollie and Elsie Shantz of Woolwich, Ontario, who have been safely transporting STC passengers to school for a combined total of nearly 70 years.
Don Perry of Brampton, Ontario, an STC/Parkview Transit bus driver who was honored for his heroic rescue of a woman from her vehicle in 2004. Perry risked his own life to administer CPR and keep the woman alive until paramedics arrived to transport her to the nearest hospital.
Attendees also paid special tribute to the company's military families, thanking them for their enduring courage and sacrifice. Among the military families honored were:
Mechanic Rick Avery from Visalia, Calif., who lost his son Jeffrey, a 19-year-old Army military policeman, during an explosion at a security checkpoint in Iraq in 2007.
STA/Positive Connections Terminal Manager Edward Cazares, whose son Daniel is an Army driver currently on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Jeff Cote of Manchester, N.H., who returned to drive a bus at STA's Hooksett terminal after a 20-year career in the Air National Guard that included three tours of duty in Kuwait.
"There are many within STA who are veterans of the Armed Forces and many more who have family members who are fighting or have lost their lives for our country," Chairman and CEO Denis J. Gallagher said. "They work hard every day for STA with those family members always in their hearts. We are deeply honored by the courage and sacrifice of all these fine employees, and the STA family supports them in all that they do."