Driving off into the sunset


Bryce Lee

Dona diligently waits for students to board the bus.

“There is no equal to Dona,” said Director of Transportation, Gene Pursley. Veteran bus driver, Dona Jameson, is retiring after the end of the school year after a heroic career of 50 years. Jameson began driving for Maxwell school in 1966. She drove for 43 years in Maxwell and then moved to North Platte in 2008. While driving there she would work at the school during the day. “I would work in the office and help around, I was the jack of all trades,” said Jameson.

In 50 years of driving Jameson experienced some extraordinary encounters. One day the road conditions were icy and she came over a hill, she downshifted into second gear to slow down and began sliding sideways down the hill. “The kids thought they were at an amusement park while I was holding my breath hoping to make it to the bottom,” said Jameson.

She used a van and carpooled several students, along with her own, to Maxwell Public School. “I lived out in the country and had to get the kids to school and figured that I would start driving,” said Jameson. She and her husband would drive kids to and from school. She drove the kids in the morning, and her husband would drive them in the evening. Jameson drove two vans before driving an actual bus. She called her very first bus “the Weenie-Wagon.”

Jameson treated her job with all the respect and responsibility that she could. Her main goal was to get along with the kids and get them to and from safely. Jameson is dedicated to her role as a bus driver. Pursley said, “It’s a big deal, as a bus driver you have parents leaving you responsible for their child’s safety.” Being a driver comes with a rough schedule at times. Pursley said, “A driver might have to get up at four a.m. and not get home till 1 or 2 the next morning.” She supported, not only her passengers, but the school in general.

Jameson stated, “If they need it, I am there…It’s about being committed to the school, period.” She made it a priority to never be late to a route. “The only time that I was ever late was when I was stuck in a snowdrift,” said Jameson. John Shultz, supervisor of transportation said, “never once have I heard her complain.” Shultz started driving for North Platte in 2013. Jameson acted as a mentor for Shultz. Now he is the supervisor and doesn’t want her to retire. “If Dona could stay for 10 more years I would be really happy,” said Shultz. Jameson has seen second generation passengers ride on her bus. “I’ve drove kids and have watched them grow and then I have seen their kids grow.” Jameson said. She calls her passengers her big family. Jameson said, “If you drive the same families day in and day out, you get to know them.”

After Jameson’s successful career, she is satisfied and enjoyed driving with the kids. She was loved not only by the students but by her co-workers. She is willing to come in and help when she can after retiring. However she plans on doing yard work and keeping herself busy. “I can rely on her whenever I need her…she can drive anything we’ve got, but she deserves every bit of retirement,” said Shultz.