Jim Sheridan (left), Ken Naylor and Don Lelion are driving a school bus from New Jersey to Oklahoma to deliver relief supplies to tornado victims.
By and large, people who work in pupil transportation do what they do because they care about kids. They're committed to keeping kids safe, providing a reliable ride to and from school, and contributing to their education in other ways.
Likewise, I'm convinced that most folks who work in pupil transportation also care about people in general.
That came to mind when I heard about what Durham School Services employees in Little Egg Harbor, N.J., are doing. Many of them had their lives turned upside down by last fall's Hurricane Sandy, which devastated their community. But support from people across the country helped them significantly in recovering.
Now, those same Durham employees have collected a busload of relief supplies — personal hygiene kits, bedding provisions, baby items, etc. — for the families impacted by the recent Oklahoma tornadoes.
“Last fall, 17 of our employees lost everything in the hurricane,” said General Manager Patty Manzoni, who oversees Durham’s student transportation services in Little Egg Harbor. "We discussed the Oklahoma situation as a group and decided this was the right thing to do.”
Drivers Jim Sheridan, Ken Naylor and Don Lelion volunteered to take the stocked bus on a 2,800-mile round-trip journey to the Oklahoma City Rescue Mission. They're scheduled to leave Little Egg Harbor on Saturday morning (June 22) and arrive at the rescue mission on Monday morning.
Local schools helped with the donations by sending home a flyer with students and posting details of the Oklahoma relief project on their websites. Items were collected over a few weeks, from late May to mid-June.
“Our employees have always been dedicated to serving the community, and even though Oklahoma isn’t next door, we didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to assist,” Manzoni said. “The response from our community was overwhelming, so this really is a community project that couldn’t have been achieved by Durham alone.”
— Thomas McMahon, executive editor
| posted on Friday, June 21, 2013 1:47 PM