ST. JOSEPH -- A local school bus driver for several St. Cloud area schools was named the 2015 Minnesota Special Education Driver of the Year.

Jim Thomas, a driver for Trobec's Bus Services, was honored at the company's annual end-of-the-year picnic on Wednesday night at Millstream Park in St. Joseph.

Bethany Schubert of Trobec's Bus Services helped to write the nomination of Thomas for the award to the Minnesota Association of Pupil Transportation.

"[We] wrote it up and submitted it and then we were notified a couple of months later that he had won," Schubert says.

Schubert says Thomas deserved the award because he goes above and beyond for the safety and well-being of his students.

"He literally would give the shirt off his back for anyone," Schubert says. "So it's really a big honor and we're really excited."

Thomas says the award came as a surprise.

"I had no idea," Thomas says. "Nobody told me...I'm totally humbled."

"[Winning the award] means you're appreciated, and all of these bus drivers should be appreciated -- it's a profession where you're bringing to and from school our future."


Photo by Isaac Schweer, WJON