Peterson awarded 2013 Driver of the Year award

MYRNA PETERSON receives her award from South Dakota Department of Transportation Program Director Bruce Lindholm.

Retired Sanborn County Transit bus driver Myrna Peterson was awarded the South Dakota Driver of the Year for 2013 during the annual Dakota Transit Association conference in Bismarck, ND in September
Only one transit driver per state receives this honor each year. Peterson was nominated this past summer by Jessica Pickett, Senior Services Executive Director for the City of Mitchell.
Peterson was the transit director in Sanborn County for 30-plus years. Besides driving the bus, she acted as office manager, secretary, grant writer and she took care of the bus, washing and detailing it. In her nomination letter, Pickett writes, “Myrna was truly the definition of a One Man Band operation for Sanborn County Transit and the biggest reason it has been a successful program for so many years.”
Pickett adds, “Not only is Myrna an amazing and one of the safest drivers anyone could ask for, she knows where EVERYTHING is located, including all back roads in Huron and Mitchell in order to avoid construction or just to take the safest and shortest route.
“She has established such a close relationship with all of her passengers and goes out of her way to help them. Myrna is a friend to all of her passengers and all of her passengers are her friends,” says Pickett. “Myrna made sure to introduce the new bus driver to all of the passengers personally, even if it included going to their house and knocking on their door.”
Peterson was essential in keeping the bus service running in Sanborn County, always making sure to keep compliant with all rules and regulations and meeting all state deadlines. She was instrumental in securing the three-stall bus garage where the bus and van are kept, along with the ambulance.
She was known for keeping the cleanest bus around. Pickett states, “In fact, the new bus driver said to me, ‘I better keep this bus spotless or Myrna will kick my butt!’ and she’s not kidding!”
When Peterson decided to retire, she was concerned with the community losing their bus service, so she took it upon herself to contact Palace Transit in Mitchell, inquiring if they would be interested in continuing the service. Palace Transit and the mayor of Mitchell both could see the value of the service and were happy to enter into a management agreement to continue operation of Sanborn County Transit.
Pickett states in her letter that many of Peterson’s passengers and county co-workers were sad to hear the news of her retirement, but that she felt it was HER time to ride the bus. And ride the bus she has, in order to make sure her old customers are comfortable with the change and the new driver is comfortable with the route and area.
The new Sanborn County transit driver is currently operating the same schedule as in the past, and Palace Transit hopes that together, they can continue to provide the same quality of service Peterson did for over 30 years.

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