Retiring Reynoldsburg school bus driver Mary Ellen Theaumont was honored last week with the bus driver of the year award in the central region by the Ohio Association of Pupil Transportation (OAPT).

Retiring Reynoldsburg school bus driver Mary Ellen Theaumont was honored last week with the bus driver of the year award in the central region by the Ohio Association of Pupil Transportation (OAPT).

The Reynoldsburg Board of Education presented Theaumont with a certificate of recognition for the achievement on May 17.

District transportation supervisor Mike Rosenberger has nothing but good things to say about Theaumont and her long career driving for Reynoldsburg schools over the past 39 years.

"She has transported 6,000-plus students in her career, traveled 725,000 bus miles, taken 2,400 field trips that included two state championship teams in track and volleyball," Rosenberger said.

"She's been a member of the Reynoldsburg school's safety committee, a union building representative, a service director for the Girl Scouts of America for five years, a scout leader for 18 years, and member of the Knights of Columbus Women League for 10 years."

OAPT president-elect Tim Cox said among some 4,000 school bus drivers in 11 counties that encompass the central region, Theaumont is the best of the best.

He said she was chosen to receive the award because of the length of time she committed herself to the job, for her outstanding attendance and dependability, and for her safe driving record and good student discipline.

"Mary Ellen was always friendly, always knowledgeable and willing to go the extra mile for anybody, just a model bus driver," Cox said. "She has transported many students safely, and because of her, they are doctors, attorneys, school board members .She was there in the mornings and there in the afternoons, and the Ohio Association of Pupil Transportation honors her for her 39 years of service."

Theaumont, 72, was hired as a driver on March 26, 1973 and will retire from that position in June.

She said receiving the award is quite an honor and wanted to thank Rosenberger as well as the school board and administration.

In addition, she also wanted to recognize her fellow school bus drivers.

"They had such a positive response to this when we were told this is what I had gotten, and I felt bad because there's 45 drivers out there and every one of them could have gotten this award as well," Theaumont said.

"We have a terrific transportation department here in Reynoldsburg, and it's because of Mr. Rosenberger, a compassionate and professional person," she said. "He makes us live by the things that we're supposed to do as a driver.

"And we also have an exceptional secretary, Diana, that just keeps us going. No matter what kind of problem comes over those radios, we're able to solve it between her and all the drivers," she said.

Before becoming a bus driver, Theaumont said driving a school bus was the last thing she ever envisioned herself doing.

"That was the furthest thing in the world from what I would have thought I would have ever wanted to do and here I am today, crying because I'm choosing to give it up," Theaumont said.

She said it will be hard to leave the relationships she's forged with her fellow bus drivers over the years and although she may do some substitute driving after she retires, she wants to spend time with her hobbies and her family, which now includes 11 grandchildren.

dowen@thisweeknews.com

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