Last month, service vehicles including police, fire, Yellowhead Road and Bridge maintenance fleet and school buses took part in a show of support for regional emergency services and health care workers. The amber light tribute was organized by YRB and happened in Nelson, Kaslo and Creston.
Kootenay Lake school district deployed four buses to participate, two in Creston, one in Nelson and one in Kaslo. SD8 bus drivers were more than happy to take on the special route that evening.
“I was honoured to be part of the parade in Kaslo,” said driver Carol Morton.
“It was so great to see some of the kids as we went through town. People came out with pots and pans banging them as we went through town, they were waving and blowing kisses. It truly was an amazing moment. The kids and adults were excited to see the school bus in the parade. Such a wonderful community and spirit from all, in such a stressful time.”
In Creston, SD8 transportation employees Shannon Tetz and Tom Proud joined the route that began at the YRB lot, proceeded down main street and up past the Hospital. With amber lights flashing, the 45-minute procession also made its way past Swan Valley Seniors Lodge and past the Crest View assisted living complex. Residents came out on their balconies at Crest View to wave and make noise.
The tribute was especially poignant for Tetz, who brought along a single rider that evening, her grandson. Tetz’s grandson has been living with her since the outbreak as his mom is a front-line worker at one of the seniors facilities in Creston. “My grandson was so excited. He made a sign, and it was so wonderful when his mom came out so they could wave at each other,” Tetz said.
Many health care workers came out to wave and those on the street cheered in all three communities. Bruce Walgren drove the bus for the Nelson procession.
While the SD8 buses sit idle these days, transportation staff are beginning online training and taking time for professional development. But when the call went out to the drivers to participate in the Amber Light tribute, there were plenty of volunteers. Last week drivers were redeployed as greeters and helping assist with other needs at essential service sites. Other transportation staff have been incredibly busy helping with grounds maintenance and custodial assignments.
“Kootenay Lake school district is grateful to all our employees and all the essential service workers that are making sacrifices to keep our communities strong and healthy,” said operations manager Janet Wall.