TOPEKA, Kan. — Gov. Sam Brownback proclaimed last Wednesday School Bus Drivers' Appreciation Day in Kansas, and Rannie and Diana Schmidt were among those in the spotlight.

Last year, Rannie and Diana — drivers for Goessel Unified School District 411 — were ferrying buses from summer repair for the beginning of the school year when they came upon a car lying on its side in a soybean field. The vehicle had left the road and rolled several times, and a woman and her 8-year-old daughter had been ejected.

Just days earlier, Rannie and Diana had undergone CPR recertification training that also focused on how to respond to emergency situations. The bus drivers quickly took action.

The Kansas State Pupil Transportation Association (KSPTA) reported in its September 2013 newsletter that Diana called 911 and helped the mother, who was responsive but badly injured, giving her care to prevent shock. Rannie performed CPR on the daughter.

“When I came upon her you could quickly see she had no signs of life, and [I] began CPR,” Rannie said in the KSPTA newsletter. After several minutes of CPR, Rannie and Diana said they discovered that the girl had started breathing again on her own and had a very faint pulse.

Emergency responders arrived on the scene, and the mother and daughter were flown to an emergency facility.

For their critical response, Rannie and Diana were given the KSPTA's 2013 Heroism Award.

Stacie Kozlowski also received the state association's 2013 Heroism Award. The Fort Larned Unified School District driver was transporting a football team on an activity bus last year when a car failed to stop at an intersection and sideswiped the bus.

"Stacie’s alertness and quick actions prevented a serious accident," the KSPTA reported in its newsletter.

Last week, on School Bus Drivers’ Appreciation Day, Kansas' 4,272 school bus drivers were commended for their part in keeping students safe.

“School bus drivers are the quintessential unsung heroes," said Keith Dreiling, state director of pupil transportation. "Every day we entrust them with our most precious cargo: our children. These drivers are not just trained to respond in emergency situations, they’re trained to prevent emergency situations, just as they would with their own children.”