I Make a Difference April 11,  2022

I Make a  Difference April 11, 2022 

This month we are proud to nominate Tom Buffington for the "I Make a Difference Award" for many reasons.  Mr. Buffington has been the USD #400 Director of Transportation for 16 years, and we have seen many positive changes within the department during that time.  Tom runs an immaculate fleet and keeps the district vehicles in great shape.  Safety is always a priority when Tom addresses his crew at the monthly meetings.  He always makes it a point to put students first.  You may think he has a rough exterior, but don’t let that fool you - he honestly loves those kids.

Tom works to recruit good drivers, takes care of his people, and believes that an inviting environment with plenty of food will help him to retain a good solid crew.  Some of the best food in the district can be found out in the bus barn.  The Highway Patrol is impressed every year during bus inspection time because Tom pays attention to every detail, and his fleet is always ready to go and passes with flying colors.

As many districts struggle to meet the demands of retaining drivers, maintaining full routes, and scheduling a full load of school activities especially in the spring, Mr. Buffington somehow always seems to get the kids where they need to go safely and on time.  I don’t think many of us know what all happens behind the scenes every day to get the job done.  He fits the pieces of the puzzle together, modifies as he needs to, steps in and substitutes for a route, or twists an arm to make it all happen.  

We have all appreciated Tom, not only for the outstanding work he does as our Transportation Director, but also for his unique personality and “interesting” sense of humor.  He can be extremely entertaining and a joy to be around.  We’ve seen him dress up as a milk cow and a ballerina just to make people laugh, and not take life so seriously.  If you’ve ever received an email from Tom, you might read a closing statement at the bottom, like:  “As every day proves to be a dark and dreary endless struggle, rest easy in the knowledge that at the end of the day, we are nearer the end”.

We are very fortunate and grateful for Tom, and what he has brought to our district.