Michalicek selected as one of state’s outstanding bus drivers

The Maple Lake/Annandale area may very well be the best place in the state to ride a school bus.  Last year, Mary Jindrich of Maple Lake was honored as one of six Transportation Specialist Award winners by the Minnesota School Bus Operators Association.   This year, two employees of M&M Bus Service Inc., which provides student transportation in both the Maple Lake and Annandale school districts, were among the six outstanding bus drivers selected in Minnesota.  Maple Lake driver Gloria Michalicek and Annandale driver Shennon Hempel were honored on June 10 at the MSBOA Presidential Banquet held at Ruttger’s Sugar Lake Resort.  “Knowing that Mary had gotten this award last year, I felt I was in pretty privileged company,” Michalicek said.  Scott Millner of M&M Bus said each bus company in the state submits a nomination for a bus driver accompanied by letters from school staff, parents and fellow drivers that forms the basis for the selection.  Michalicek, who has driven local school buses for the past eight years, had plenty of support for the honor from local residents.  “To say a few good words about Gloria would be selling her short,” said former bus company owner Phil Mooney. “She is the driver that made you say, ‘I wish we had a dozen more just like her.’”  A local parent wrote, “I love Gloria. . . I feel very lucky to know that she truly cares about the welfare of the children.”  Millner called Michalicek “an exceptional driver.”  “Some bus drivers merely do the job and others master the job,” he said. “Gloria Michalicek is a woman who has mastered the job.”  And Millner said this award provided a way to express appreciation to a great bus driver.  “It is my intention to let Gloria know how much she is appreciated and this award is one of the best ways I can think of to say ‘Thank you.’ Thank you for the hard work and dedication to your job, the children and their safety.”