KODIAK — Kodiak school bus driver Doug Payelle has racked up a lot of miles. Exactly how many is tough to tell, but they’ve taken him over hills and through valleys, in rain, snow, sleet and fog.
And he’s done it for 10 years — without missing a day.
No one else in Kodiak has even come close, said his supervisor, Jerry Clark.
“He was one of four (employees) who had perfect attendance this year,” Clark said.
As for a perfect 10 years?
“I haven’t heard of anything like that,” Clark said.
Neither has First Student, the company that operates school bus service for the borough.
“First Student has many longtime drivers like Doug,” said Bonnie Bastian from First Student’s national office in Ohio. “However, perfect attendance is somewhat rare. Doug has a great safety record and has shown a tremendous commitment to his community.”
In honor of Payelle’s achievement, the National School Transportation Association recognized him at its national awards ceremony in Cincinnati, Ohio. He received the Outstanding Driver Service Award, given each year to a driver who exhibits a commitment to safety and to serving his community, Bastian said.
Clark said Payelle’s drive to serve the community shows up outside the job, where he also works as a mechanics’ helper.
“He’s been working really hard over the past few years with our charitable contribution committee,” he said. “He’s participated in the Pasagshak to Kodiak bike race each year. … He’s also a volunteer firefighter for Bayside and keeps up his EMT credentials.”
Kodiak’s First Student office awards a $500 bonus for perfect attendance, and Clark said Payelle donated the entire sum to Friends of Aaron Silva, a group set up to pay the medical bills of a recently graduated eighth-grade student from Kodiak who was diagnosed with cancer last year.
Clark said Payelle knows Silva from his bus route and wanted to make an extra effort.
“It’s one that hits close to home,” he said.
Payelle declined to be interviewed for this story. When asked for comment, he simply said, “It’s not a biggie; It’s just best driver in Canada and the United States.”
Contact Mirror editor James Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org.