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Pair helps unconscious student

Some students use their time on the bus to meet with friends and play with toys. Others use their bus time to sleep.

But when one student did not wake up after the special needs bus arrived at his stop, the bus driver was worried.

The incident happened on Tuesday, Jan. 13 shortly after 3 p.m.

We were sitting here in the office and we got a call on the radio. Kevin [Henault], the driver, came across and said, 'We have an emergency,' said John Myers, director of transportation for the North Colonie Central School District.

Henault and bus aide Audrey Vallee's attempted to wake the student but were unsuccessful. The student's mother was also present, attempting to wake the boy from what appeared to be a deep sleep.

At first, said Myers, the driver and aide were not sure of the emergency situation.

"He usually falls asleep on the way home anyway," said Myers.

Once the three realized the student was not waking, they immediately put a call in to the main office, where a responder called 911.

Myers said he told the 911 dispatcher that there was a bus stopped with an unresponsive student. He then transferred the 911 call over to the bus, letting Henault and Vallee listen to the medical instructions from the dispatcher.

First, Henault and Vallee checked for a pulse and started CPR. Within three minutes, Colonie Emergency Medical Services arrived at the scene, transporting the student to a nearby hospital.

Myers said the transportation department did not find out what was wrong with the boy, however, with the help of Henault and Vallee, the student was able to be transported to safety.

Myers said one of the most important things Henault and Vallee did was remain calm in an otherwise chaotic situation. While they were helping the unconscious student, there were several other students still on the bus who might have otherwise panicked, said Myers.

Henault and Vallee were honored for their efforts in assisting the student by the North Colonie Board of Education at its Monday, Jan. 26, meeting.

"A bus driver's and bus aide's worst nightmare is for something bad to happen to one of their passengers," Myers wrote in a note to the board.

"Kevin and Audrey should be recognized for their calm and professional demeanor during this event.""

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