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Oak Harbor crew is driven to win

The Oak Harbor School District Transportation Department proved to be in the driver’s seat earlier this year, as a number of bus drivers from the district received awards and otherwise placed well at bus safety rodeos.

At the Washington Association of Pupil Transportation conference in Pasco this summer, Reva Clark received the Sure-Loc Above and Beyond Award in Special Needs. Clark has spent the entire 22 years of her time as a bus driver with the Oak Harbor School District dedicated to transporting special needs students.

“She’s distinguished herself as a dedicated and caring professional who always puts the needs of the students first,” Jan Kammenga said.

Kammenga, a 21-year veteran driver in the district, received the Outstanding Transportation Person Award.

To be eligible for this statewide contest, the drivers were first nominated by Fern Miller, the 2006-2007 transportation director.

Showing more than one kind of driving prowess, Tino Allen played in the annual WAPT conference golf tournament in which he and his team took second place.

At the Northwest Educational Service District 189 regional bus safety rodeo this spring, driver Bob Mitchell took second place honors.

Lead district mechanic Robert Meyer has participated in the regional safety competition, in various capacities, for a number of years. This year he nabbed third place driving honors in the ESD 189 regional competition and went on to place second at the state competition.

“He’s a special person who wears many hats everyday,” Kammenga said.

“He always gets everyone together and helps the drivers practice weeks in advance for the competition.”

Meyer was hired by the district in 1992, spending his first two years as a special needs instructional assistant before he transitioned to bus driving.

After driving for six years, he attended transportation maintenance school and began training drivers while continuing his routes.

Meyer first went to the regional bus rodeo in 1999 and since then he has won several awards at the regional level, as well as two second places and one third place at state. In 2004 he traveled to Minneapolis to compete at the national bus safety rodeo.

“Every year he promotes interest and commits his weekends to setting up a course to help drivers practice for the yearly event,” Kammenga said.

Meyer has to keep his driving skills sharp, even when in charge of the mechanical duties for the district. After all, at a moment’s notice, Meyer is known to jump out of his coveralls and onto a bus to fill in for a bus route in need.

“I love being involved with transportation and driving,” Meyer said. “And I enjoy the training program. I enjoy teaching very much.”

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