School bus driver Dawn Hill-Fleury says the most rewarding thing about volunteering for Camp Ta-Kum-Ta is “seeing the kids’ faces as the buses pull in and them knowing they’re going someplace special.”
Passion for cheering up cancer patients
Student Transportation of America
School bus driver Dawn Hill-Fleury says she enjoys volunteering her time to help as many people as possible, but there’s one cause that’s especially close to her heart: helping the kids who attend Camp Ta-Kum-Ta in South Hero, Vt.
Each year, kids with cancer can take a break from hospital visits and treatments and go to Camp Ta-Kum-Ta for a week. When the camp was founded in 1984, there was a need for transportation services to get the kids from a local hospital to the camp. That’s when Hill-Fleury’s work began.
Officials for the company that she worked for at the time were approached by the camp. (Hill-Fleury has been a school bus driver for more than 30 years, the last eight of which have been for Student Transportation of America [STA].)
“They said they would love to help, thinking it would be a one-time thing, and it was so successful and the drivers enjoyed it so much that it’s continued for 26 years,” she says.
In addition to transporting the children every year, Hill-Fleury has served as the camp’s transportation coordinator for the last 12 years. In this role, she oversees the entire transportation operation, including making sure that there are enough drivers and buses to take the kids where they need to go.
“The drivers I recruit are all volunteer drivers who donate their time. I could not do it with out them,” she says.
In November 2009, Hill-Fleury was the recipient of an STA regional heroes award for her dedication to Camp Ta-Kum-Ta.
She was also nominated by STA Vermont Regional Manager John Sharrow for the company’s team heroes video.
“Dawn’s efforts for Camp Ta-Kum-Ta are just one of many,” Sharrow says. “She is very active in her church and the local government and is even a justice of the peace. The best example of her character was just a few weeks ago [in November 2010] when she learned of a driver from a nearby location who has a very sick child and needed some assistance. By noon on the same day, she had decorated a large carton and was gathering items for this employee, one whom she has never met. Dawn just loves people.”
— KELLY ROHER