Tribute coach honours local heroes

Diversified Transportation celebrates with ‘Homecoming BBQ’

By Dawn Booth, Connect Weekly


Photo: Local fire fighers met with Diversified Transportation representatives on July 14 outside of the police station in Timberlea to see the newly designed motor coach. Photos by DAWN BOOTH, Connect Weekly

A tribute coach has been specifically designed by Diversified Transportation to honour local first responders and it’s making its way around the city and province to celebrate.

The motor coach includes images from Fort McMurray firefighters, Emergency Response Services, Alberta Forestry firefighters, RCMP officers and Phoenix Helicopters. With a theme showcasing “Together we are Fort McMurray Strong”, the coach will be used in service daily, as well as provide special trips to oil sands sites.

Maribeth Wilson, director of communications at Diversified Transportation, said there are many stories and examples of employees going ‘above and beyond’ to help transport the city during the wildfire evacuation.

“I have heard the statement: ‘I am not leaving until the last bus is gone’ more than once when employees have shared their wildfire stories,” Wilson said. “Like many, our drivers and operations personnel worked many long, hard days to transport people to safety.”

Jim Wiebe of Diversified Transportation will be driving Bus No. 5174 around the city and province.

Jim Wiebe of Diversified Transportation will be driving Bus No. 5174 around the city and province.

The special coach will be driven by one employee in particular who provided strength to his fellow colleagues. His name is Jim Wiebe and representatives said he has exemplified leadership during the recent evacuation and throughout the weeks preceding.

“Jim drives for our Syncrude division and is also a charter driver, providing single and multi-day charters for local sport teams and various groups and organizations,” Wilson said. “He is highly respected by his peers and provided leadership to our driver group during the evacuations. He exhibits our 10 core values in everything he does.”

Wiebe first heard the news of the coach, and his honour to drive it, at Diversified’s Homecoming BBQ event on July 13, where representatives announced 46,000 safe trips were performed.

“Our buses are the first in and the last out,” said Mark Hannah, Vice President, Oil Sands.

On July 14, Wiebe took a trip around the city in it for the first time and made special trips to Fire Hall #1 and #5, as well as the RCMP Station in Timberlea, where he was joined by staff from Fire Hall #3 and #4.

“It’s an honour to be selected, as I’m one of the many who never left the post,” Wiebe said on being the driver of the hero-designed bus. “It’s an honour for the company. It’s the people that saved our city and thank them in public.”

Wiebe will be taking Bus No. 5174 to Edmonton for the K-Days festival on July 22 and then, heading to Lac La Biche to show the crowds at the Pow Wow Days celebration on July 29.

“I feel more drawn to Fort McMurray now than ever before. I love my job. It’s a collage of coming together,” he said.”

– Connect Weekly –