Hudsonville Public Schools Bus Driver to be Recognized for Selfless Service

bus driver receives award

Hudsonville Public Schools bus driver Tim Cribley to be named CalAmp’s first-ever Bus Guardian Hero for his sustained support of food pantries around Grand Rapids and his commitment to student safety during the COVID-19 student transportation challenge.

CalAmp selected Tim Cribley following the nominations of nearly 900 school bus drivers from across North America. Cribley will be awarded a $250 gift card, while CalAmp will be donating $1,000 on behalf of his nominator, Transportation Director Rob Matthews, to Hand2Hand, a local food pantry.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a fresh urgency about recognizing the essential employees who too often work quietly behind the scenes to keep our communities running. As schools grappled with the emergency shutdowns initially followed by the challenge of re-opening schools safely, school bus drivers have played an essential role in supporting their community and districts.

Synovia launched the Bus Guardian Hero program to honor drivers who go well above and beyond their daily responsibilities to support their community.

Cribley, a driver for the past five years with Hudsonville Schools, was selected after a comprehensive process that included nearly 1,000 nominations between January and March.

QUOTES FROM TIM CRIBLEY:

Why do you give back to your community?

One of the reasons that I suggested our "table of giving" was food insecurity.  Everyone is typically gung-ho to help out those less fortunate at the Christmas holiday season, then the less fortunate are somewhat forgotten the other eleven months of the year.  The food pantries that we help support are smaller, church run organizations whose church members support the pantry so to help those less fortunate.  I feel strongly that we need to give assistance however we can, be it a monetary donation, personal time donation, or food items donation. 

What motivates your commitment to your community?

The needs in my community are hidden under an aura of "everything is good."  One of the reasons that I suggested our "table of giving" was food insecurity.  Everyone is typically gung-ho to help out those less fortunate at the Christmas holiday season, then the less fortunate are somewhat forgotten the other eleven months of the year. 

The food pantries that we help support are smaller, church run organizations whose church members support the pantry to help those less fortunate.  I feel strongly that we need to give assistance however we can, be it a monetary donation, personal time donation, or food items donation. 

What is the best part of your job?

Seeing how the littles are so excited about going to school.  Having them tell me that they lost a tooth during class time and then having them show me the tooth!  This is especially exciting when it is the first lost tooth.  My students like that I wear a straw hat.  Some have taken calling me Mr. Hat or Safari Tim! 

What should other people know about bus drivers that they don’t know now?

That we truly care about their child, that we treat them as one of our own and that we will do everything we can to keep them safe.  We know when they are scared, when they are depressed, when they are happy.   

Who is your Bus Guardian Hero? 

All bus drivers are Bus Guardian Heroes!

To operate a school bus, filled with loud children who are happy to be heading home, all the while watching for drivers who are inattentive to what is happening around them and to deliver each student to their correct stop safely and making sure that they are safe going away from the bus. 

Knowing who rides, addressing each student who comes on by name, wishing them a good morning, or letting them know to have a good day can make a difference in a student’s day 

There are times that bus drivers could be the first adult that a child sees in the morning, so welcoming them aboard the bus, greeting them with a smile (although in today's masked world, that smile has to come thru with your voice) can make a difference in their day.   

Quotes from Rob Mathews, Director of Transportation, Hudsonville Public Schools

Tim Cribley is the definition of an unsung hero among bus drivers.

In the fall of 2018, a table was set up in the driver’s lounge at the transportation center, and Tim encouraged all of the drivers in our fleet to donate items to our “table of giving.” Each month a new need is highlighted, and items are collected throughout the month.

At the end of the month, Tim brings all of the collected items to one of several smaller area food banks. Knowing that there are a couple of larger non-profit food banks in our community that are well supported, Tim brings the items collected on the bus driver’s table of giving to smaller food pantries run by a number of different local churches.

These smaller pantries are more likely to find themselves in greater need. By supplying them, he thought it would ease the burden on the larger local pantries.

The goal is simple, to meet the needs of as many folks in our community as possible so that all of our students can find nutritious food, clean toiletries, and warm clothing at home.
 

For two years now, Tim has kept the table of giving at the forefront of our driver’s minds, coordinated with these smaller pantries, and transported the collected goods from the transportation center to the pantries. Tim keeps it simple for all of us here at the transportation department; all we need to do is buy something extra at the store and place it on the table.

The hard work has fallen to him, and he faithfully attends to the work month in and month out without saying so much as a word.

When COVID struck our community, Tim stepped up to the extra work that all of our drivers did by developing and maintaining a clear seating chart and spending extra time sanitizing his bus. All the while, he kept the table of giving rolling, bring supplies to local food pantries.

Tim isn’t the type of man to tout his accomplishments.