Sitting behind the folding doors of a monster-sized yellow machine, bus driver Jim Kochan considers himself no different from anyone else who takes on the task of driving students to school.
The 51-year-old driver, like many others at the South Colonie Central School District, takes pride in his job, and he does everything he can to transport students safely to the schools in the district.
Kochan's attentiveness at work, as well as his recent acts of heroism, has earned him an award this year from the Hudson Valley AAA, which recognizes one school bus driver per district for his or her precision, dedication and acts of heroism during the 2007-2008 school year.
The award process starts with the district's director of transportation in South Colonie's case, Peter Tunny being asked to nominate a bus driver from the district. Those nominated maintain good attendance, consistently use the best judgment at their jobs and have gone above and beyond their typical duties.
According to Tunny, when he was asked to nominate a driver, Kochan stuck out without question.
"I met with my other supervisor [to discuss nominees], and we instantly thought of Jim," said Tunny, "He's just a dependable, hard-working person. He's an all-around great guy."
Tunny said this is the second or third year the district was asked to nominate a bus driver for the award, and that each year, the task of nominating a driver becomes increasingly more difficult.
"There are just so many that are deserving," he said.
Kochan said he thinks one of the reasons he was nominated for the award was because of the two separate times he brought a child who was having a seizure to safety while driving the special education bus. Kochan said he responded by calling the EMS on the first occasion and calling in to alert the school to prepare for the student on the other.