HISD transportation managers recognize bus personnel during national Love the Bus Month

HISD transportation managers served a pancake breakfast to bus drivers and school bus personnel Thursday as part of a week of events held to recognize national Love the Bus Month.

Love the Bus Month, created by the American School Bus Council, raises awareness and appreciation in February for the hundreds of thousands of school bus drivers who safely transport children to and from school.

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“This breakfast is a way to recognize all of our transportation employees,” said HISD Transportation Manager Nathan Graf. “After they go on their morning route, it’s nice to have a warm meal waiting on them when they get back – especially on a cold day.”

The transportation leadership team served breakfast to about 1,400 employees – including 1,050 bus drivers – at a different bus terminal each day this week.

“I think we should have breakfast like this at least once a month,” said Connie Nelson, a HISD bus driver who has worked in the transportation department for 23 years. Her day usually begins at 5 a.m., leaving only enough time to grab a piece of fruit on her way out. “I won’t have to go home and fix my own breakfast today. In a small way, this does make us feel appreciated.”

Each day, nearly 1,000 HISD school buses travel 87,000 miles to transport 32,000 students across the district.

The department will end its celebration of Love the Bus Month by giving bus drivers candy and cards for Valentine’s Day on Friday.

“I appreciate what they do for us, and we appreciate them,” said Katherlene Preston, a HISD bus driver for 22 years.

The department began recognizing National Love the Bus Month in 2011. Last year, Houston Mayor Annise Parker lit the downtown City Hall building yellow to honor HISD bus drivers and the transportation team.