Nellie McFarland found out she had won an award through CB communication.
While driving her school bus.
McFarland has driven a school bus for Clay Community School Corporation close to 20 years. On Monday, she was named the School Bus Driver of the Year through a contest conducted by WTHI HI-99-FM radio.
"Another bus driver heard it on the radio and (communicated with her via CB) and said, 'congratulations,'" McFarland told The Brazil Times.
McFarland received several entries in the contest from students that take her bus.
"One little girl said she always gave kids treats for holidays," HI-99 Operations Manager and morning co-host Barry Kent said.
He added another entry talked about how McFarland was dropping off a child but no one was at the child's home. She invited him back onto the bus and brought him back to his home when someone was there.
Kent said there were approximately 70 bus drivers nominated for the award. Some bus drivers, like McFarland, received multiple entries. He said the staff at the radio station read the entries and narrowed the possible winners down before making a decision on McFarland Friday.
"It was open to all bus drivers in our listening area," Kent said. "We have done this before. We started a couple of months ago asking for entries. We just asked our listeners and urged parents and kids to write in to our website."
Kent said McFarland would receive a dinner from The Landing at Ft. Harrison and the sponsors would come together to present her a plaque.
McFarland grew up in Holland but her family moved to Indianapolis before moving to Clay County close to 25 years ago.
She has driven a school bus for the corporation 18-19 years.
"The families are like yours," she said. "It's not a job. It's your family. That makes a difference.
"I had no clue these kids were doing this. There are days when you get discouraged and you wonder if you're getting through. This took my breath away. It was amazing. It gives you hope to go on the next day."
McFarland also pointed out all bus drivers have the same feelings when it comes to taking care of children.
"Every bus driver out there does this," she said. "We make sure the children are taken care of. It's a group effort.
"But it's nice to know that somebody cares that you've done something right."
The contest was sponsored by The Landing at Ft. Harrison, Sullivan Automotive Group, Don Marshall Automotive Group and Riddell National Bank.