Local school bus drivers get the recognition they deserve at special ceremony

Local

CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. (NEWS10) The New York State Association for Pupil Transportation honored several Capital Region bus drivers on Thursday for going the extra mile to keep kids safe on the way to school.

If you asked any bus driver honored Thursday, they would all tell you the same thing, they would do anything to keep the kids safe.

“These people are unsung heroes,” said NYAPT Capital Chapter President Ted Nugent. “They’re representing our most valuable cargo, the kids of our future.”

Some, like Bethlehem School District bus attendant Nicholas Demuth and driver Patrick, take the word “hero” to the next level. The driver-attendant team was recognized Thursday for saving a young girl with special needs who was in danger.

“Drivers were honking their horns going “BEEP! GET OUT OF THR WAY!” She was in the middle of the road right on the yellow lines,” said Demuth. “Cars were zipping by, so we pulled over and went through our chain of commands and worked as a team.”

The team saved a life that day, and Shen Transportation Director Alfred Karam says whether you realize it or not, bus drivers and staff can be some of the most courageous people in the community.

“These individuals,whether drivers or bus attendants, they’re in control of a large bus about 13 tons,” said Karam. “On average, you’ve got about 40 kids in there, and they’re having to deal with either weather-related issues or heavy traffic or angry motorists on a daily basis.”

It’s all worth it, they say, when they know they have made an impact on a child’s life.

“She started riding in fifth grade,” said Employee of the Year Mel Monica of one of her most memorable students. “I had her for most of her high school career, went to her graduation party, was in her wedding. And actually, she became a bus driver too!”

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