School Bus Fleet

November 2014

A management & maintenance magazine for school transportation fleets

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34 S C H O O L B U S F L E E T • N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 4 Dawn Coffn Director of Transportation Maine School Administrative District #37 Harrington, Maine How did you get your start in the school bus industry? There was a big sign outside the bus garage in Lincoln, Maine, that said they needed new drivers. An old man said, "OK, let's see what you can do." He walked me over to the line of bus- es and invited me to climb in and sit in the driver's seat. I did, feeling quite haughty. He said, "Start 'er up." No problem. I shoved in the clutch and turned the key and the gasoline engine came to a low roar. I felt powerful and better than just a person who drove a car. Then the old man (I wish I could remember his name) told me to drive around the bus garage, and I did. I showed him! My head was soaring above the clouds. Then he said, "Back 'er back in." I looked at the line of buses and back at the man and said, "You mean there?" He said, "You just drove 'er outta there." My heart thudded the whole time and sweat formed on my forehead as I looked at that little hole and felt so large driving a school bus. I threw my right arm around the stainless steel pole just behind my right shoulder and twisted my neck as far as it would go. I put the stick in reverse and slow- ly slipped the clutch the whole time as I put the giant rear end of that big dumb bus in that undersized cheating hole between two other buses. The old guy said, "Well, school starts just before Labor Day and your run is Mattawamkeag," and he got off the bus and walked back to his garage. Top achievement? The very most important thing is raising the aware- ness about safety in this district. I work with drivers who have mostly all been in the in- dustry a long time. We train and retrain. They are always think- ing of ways to get the message across. They have built a school bus puppet stage and do puppet shows. They started with a marionette called Goonie Bird, a blue fuzzy guy. It's all about safety. Outside interests? I do small upholstery jobs and make accessories, clothing and unique bags. I am an ordained Pentecostal minister. Something people would be surprised to learn about you? I play the accordion. Earl Rineer Driver Trainer Sague Bus Service Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania How did you get your start in the school bus industry? My son Jerry was a dispatcher/driver for Romano's School Bus Service and needed help. At the time I was volunteering in the wholesale department at Christian Literature Crusade, which was a full-time position. But my son needed help, so I offered to get my license and drive when he needed me. I had driven a fre truck as a volunteer for 15 years, so it was not a big change. After my frst year I started to train new drivers. Be- cause I enjoy helping others, I still teach new and recertify cur- rent school bus drivers. Top achievements? The joy of my life since 1973 has been to share the good news (the gospel of Jesus Christ) with everyone, whether it be in the bus, on the street or in the church. I have had the privilege of serving with World Vision, Christian Literature Crusade, Inter- national Students, Philadelphia Bible Society, prisons, hospitals and summer camp for handicapped children. Most interesting place you've been? In January of 1943, I was called, along with hundreds of other healthy young men, to put down the madman Hitler forever. I spent time at Fort Sill in Oklahoma in artillery training, then did three months of accelerated training as a cadet in the Army Air Force. I was then sent back to the artillery and shipped out to southern France with the 70th Infantry Division (the Trailblaz- ers). We saw action through France and southern Germany. Af- ter the war, the Army sent me and two other GIs to run the fre department in the biggest food depot in France at Verdun. But my greatest adventure was our decision to move to Aus- tralia to live and work as immigrants for two years. Our two youngest children traveled with us: Jerry, just out of high school, and Raymond. There is no other country like it, and we enjoyed every minute as we worked and met many great people. Per- sonally I met my savior, Jesus Christ, there and I have been serv- ing His children since then. The blessings have never stopped. After our committed two years "down under," we decided to continue traveling westward, so we completed our trip around the world. World War II veteran Earl Rineer, pictured here by the Delaware River, has been training school bus drivers since 1977. Dawn Coffn, a director of transportation in Maine, has a couple of colorful parrots: a macaw (pictured) and a sun conure. Born: Rochester, New York Home: Cherryfeld, Maine Years in industry: 42 Born: Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania Home: Blue Bell, Pennsylvania Years in industry: 38 Fascinating Personalities

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