All of us know a quiet professional like Tim Cribley.
Dependable, punctual, and committed to excellence in his craft, student transporters like Cribley go one step further by investing in their community and working tirelessly to make the world a better place.
The student transportation industry is blessed with an abundance of people like Cribley. Drivers and staff who rise well before dawn and work well after dark when needed to ensure students always have a safe journey to and from school and their activities.
When the pandemic struck more than a year ago, workers like Cribley were lauded for their “essential” role in our society, shorthand for any job that maintains the most vital aspects of our society and that can’t be conducted from the safety and convenience of a remote work space.
“We used to know kids by their smiles and voices, but now we know them by their eyes and hair and even their eyebrows since they are always masked on the bus,” Cribley said. “No matter the way, I know the name of every student on my routes and they know me personally, too.”
“I make sure they are always learning the power of good manners by simply saying “Good Morning” and “Good Afternoon,” and that their first and last experience of their school day is a positive one,” he added.
CalAmp honored Cribley at an April 22, 2021 ceremony as our first ever Bus Guardian Hero for his work as far more than a school bus driver at Hudsonville Public Schools.
What Is A Bus Guardian Hero?
When the pandemic struck, CalAmp and its student transportation subsidiary Synovia Solutions responded to the threat of the virus with our Bus Guardian solution, delivering accurate and timely contact tracing, driver wellness checks and hygiene verifications via our rugged, cab-based tablet and intuitive software.
Synovia promoted the solution by distributing more than 3,000 COVID branded Bus Guardian masks to school bus drivers across North America.
Stacey Coley, CalAmp customer success manager, was part of the team to help distribute the masks and noticed an immediate trend.
“The drivers loved the Bus Guardian masks because it spoke to their mission, they truly see themselves as the guardian of the bus and student safety,” Coley said. “I thought it would be great to create a program that actually called out the best drivers who demonstrate that guardian mentality.”
Synovia partnered with School Transportation News to solicit nominations and promoted the Bus Guardian Hero program via its social media platform.
A massive response followed.
After reviewing more than 900 submissions from fellow drivers, school leaders, parents and students, CalAmp named Cribley as its first ever Bus Guardian Hero for his work supporting food banks around western Michigan.
What Makes A Bus Guardian Hero?
After retiring from a successful career as a lineman for AT&T where he was regularly behind the wheel of cherry picker utility trucks, Cribley took up driving the school bus five years ago to stay engaged in his community.
Also active in his church, Cribley set up a simple table in the Hudsonville Schools bus garage where drivers and staff could donate canned and dry food. He collects the food and delivers it to smaller food pantries throughout the region. Dubbed the “Table of Giving,” the program is simple and effective and helps connect the student transportation professional to their wider community.
When COVID-19 struck his community, Cribley stepped up to the extra work 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, bringing crucial supplies to local food pantries.
“Tim isn’t the type of man to tout his accomplishments, so we’re thankful for an opportunity like this Bus Guardian Hero because it so well captures the way Tim goes about his job,” said Rob Matthews, transportation director at Hudsonville Public Schools.
“Those of us in this industry know it’s not just about Tim, because we have so many drivers and staff who embody this same commitment to student safety and wellbeing. It’s wonderful amid all of the struggle of the past year to take a moment like we have today to honor Tim and the drivers like him,” Matthews stated.
CalAmp awarded Cribley a $250 gift card and feted him at an informal ceremony attended by Hudsonville School District leadership as well as by leadership from Hand2Hand, a Michigan food bank that received a $1,000 donation from CalAmp thanks to Matthew’s nomination of Cribley.
“Our community relies on the generosity and commitment of people like Tim and the drivers here at Hudsonville,” said Cheri Honderd, executive director of Hand2Hand. “And we’re thankful to CalAmp for making this donation that will help us do even more work like Tim does so well.”
Nominate a Bus Guardian Hero and they could win a $250 gift card. Synovia will donate $1,000 to a non-profit of choice in the winning driver’s district.