Eight bus drivers from Shrewsbury, Mass.-based AA Transportation were recognized for their selfless and heroic efforts in the aftermath of the explosions during the Boston Marathon.
AA Transportation President Ron Ernenwein and other management officials today commended Blanca Lugo, Hector Vazquez, Edward Bougault, William Hogan, Jose Blanco, Todd Williams, Micheal Ciesluk and Robert Amadei. They all used their school buses to shuttle spectators and runners away from the scene after the bombs exploded. In all, three spectators, including an 8-year-old boy, were killed and more than 180 were injured.
“Not one person opted to go home, complained the assignment was too hard or took a break after the 18th hour of shuttling,” Ernenwein said. “The area they were working in was complete mayhem, and with their professionalism this group brought composure and calm for the folks that they transported. I cannot say enough about how proud I am to have this group of Americans as part of my team, staff and friendship.”
AA Transportation offers contract transportation services to more than 22 public and private school districts in central Massachusetts, according to its website, as well as to various colleges, companies and businesses. It also provides charter bus services.
The company was one of a many contracted by the Boston Athletic Association to provide transportation services during the marathon activities. Ernenwein said about 75 of its school buses were used early in the morning before the marathon to transport runners to the starting line.
During the race, eight of the 75 buses were contracted to remain on-site at different medical stations to shuttle runners to a medical treatment area.
Once the first explosion occurred, and then the next one about 12 seconds later, Ernenwein said it was difficult for his staff to keep in touch with the eight drivers since all communications in the city had been shut down. Officials were concerned that a detonator would be triggered from a cellphone. But he noted that that didn’t stop the drivers to, without hesitation, work with the authorities.
With so many marathon runners from different states and countries, Ernenwein said the bus drivers were crucial to helping these participants contact their friends and loved ones, in addition to transporting them to meeting areas.
“Anybody would have had the instinct to go home and just get out of there, and instead these guys took the opposite direction to go into the mayhem,” he added. “They could have so easily gone home.”
Editor’s note — Photo shows, from left to right: AA Transportation drivers Hector Vazquez, Micheal Ciesluk, Jose Blanco and Edward Bougault; Julie D’Ambra, director of HR and safety, and President and CEO Ron Ernenwein; drivers Blanca Lugo, Todd Williams, Robert Amadei and William Hogan.