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Doald Chestnut Lending a Helping Hand Mechanic,


Toronto City Schools in Ohio


Donald Chestnut has been in the pupil transporta- tion industry for the past 30 years. In addition to being a mechanic, Chestnut is also a substitute bus and van driver. He makes it a goal to support local businesses when buying parts. Chestnut holds several professional certificates, in- cluding master diesel tech for heavy and medium trucks, master tech for Braun and Ricon wheelchair lifts, and


master tech for heavy diesel admissions. He makes sure he’s available around the clock and offers assistance to drivers anytime they need it. Transportation Supervisor Cindy Hinerman said she has seen Chestnut


leave the golf course on a Sunday to respond to a bus breakdown. In that instance, he made sure the students on an activity trip had another bus delivered so they could return home on time. “Chestnut assists in many different capacities, from making a child smile


who may not have had a great birthday, to sharing hugs with the little ones, and learning the student’s names as a substitute [driver],” Hinerman said. “This mechanic has a huge heart [and] understands children of all abilities and disabilities. His experience as a mechanic for [special needs education school buses] has given him the compassion and empathy to understand and help those with severe disabilities.” Chestnut takes time to get to know the parents of the students he trans- ports, and he is a valuable resource not only in the garage but to the entire transportation department. Hinerman said he trains and teaches the safety and mechanical aspect of the bus and devotes time out of his day to help those who may need some additional assistance when learning to drive. “I had a driver who could not pass the driving part of the test, and


Chestnut volunteered his day off to take the driver out and practice,” Hiner- man recalled. “The driver passed the test after practicing with him. I believe this is because of the time he took, his passion, and his knowledge that he has about the bus. It takes a special person to care for the community, program, students and drivers. Toronto has a gem of a mechanic.” When asked his favorite part of the job, Chestnut said it’s seeing the students get to school safely as well as the relationships he’s built throughout his career.


Continuing the Family Legacy Mak Smith


Mark Smith’s transportation story begins with his parents, who


both drove school buses for over 30 years. Smith is now going on his 25th year in the industry and is known for promoting a user- friendly garage environment, supportive staff and community. He has successfully implemented the first stages of East Allen


County Schools adopting the Fleetsoft maintenance program, and he has worked directly with Navistar and IC Bus engineers as well as other vendors throughout the process. Director of Transportation David Myers said Smith is also a positive force behind the district’s driver education program, and he serves at the vice president of the driver’s association. He continues to hone his skills as one of the district leaders in the


garage and serves as a lead technician frontman for new school bus technologies. Smith stays up to date with his commercial driver’s license and helps


Lead


Technician, East Allen County Schools in Indiana


drive for the district when needed. “Mark is a garage guy that all school corporations would benefit


from employing,” Myers said. “He is a real treasure for our community and students.” When asked his favorite part of the job, Smith said it’s knowing


that his crew can turn out some of the safest vehicles in the state. “In short, the favorite part of the job is safety of our future,” Smith


concluded.


www.stnonline.com 25


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