LEWISBURG — During a Monday, Sept. 20 Tri-County North Local Schools Board of Education meeting, members of the TCN staff and Preble County EMA Director Dave Anderson were recognized by the Ohio State Highway Patrol for a good deed which OSP officials said could have saved lives last May.
Sgt. Dallas Root and Christina Hayes from the OSP were on hand at the meeting to make some special presentations.
Root is the Assistant Post Commander at the Dayton Highway Patrol Post. He thanked the board for allowing them to “recognize and award individual accomplishments and things that people have done that are above and beyond.”
According to Root, on May 13, 2021, he was dispatched to a Greyhound bus which was broken down on I-70.
“ODOT was actually in the area,” Root said. “They were doing a repaving job, and because of the road repaving job that was going on, and lane restrictions, we also had a backup. In the backup was a crash that other troopers were handling.
“So, it’s 80 degrees,” Root continued. “Greyhound bus is broken down on the side of the road, and they were stranded. I arrived on the scene. And I was dealt with 38 very different, diverse individuals.
“There were many different characters and backgrounds and social lives, many of whom were elderly. We had some that were very young, and some with health conditions,” Root said. “So, it could have been a very toxic environment had we let it go any further.”
Root said his first call was to Preble County EMA Director Dave Anderson. For his assistance, Anderson was recognized with a certificate, which Root read: “On May 13, 2021, Sgt. Dallas Root responded to Interstate 70 in Preble County for a disabled Greyhound bus. Upon arrival, Sgt. Root discovered the Greyhound bus had 38 individuals including children and elderly, several with medical conditions. Additionally, road construction and heavy traffic made for a dangerous situation for the stranded passengers on the bus. The Greyhound bus had incurred non-repairable motor failure and could not be moved.
“Furthermore, logistical issues caused the replacement bus’ arrival to be a four-to-five hour-long wait. Sgt. Root contacted Preble County Emergency Management Director Dave Anderson, who arrived and provided drinking water to ensure the passengers had adequate hydration as the temperatures outside as well as inside the bus were increasing.
“After assessing the situation, Sgt. Root contacted Tri-County North School Superintendent William Derringer to explain the situation and requested assistance. Without hesitation Superintendent Derringer and Tri-County North staff arrived on scene and arranged to have a school bus transport them to a safe location.”
“You know, there’s things that we do as part of our job, right?” Root said. “There’s normal tasks that we have, there’s things that we have to do, because that’s what the job requires. Delivering water was not one of his [Anderson’s] requirements. He went above and beyond, and on top of that all the water that he provided came out of his own pocket and was not paid for by the county. He provided it on his own dime, out of his care and compassion for others. So for that, I say thank you.”
TCN staff members April Hobbs and Denny Dyer were also presented certificates of recognition.
“I greatly appreciate that the minute I called you, I was on a very unique situation, trying to think outside the box to come up with a very quick resolution, solution to my problem,” Root said. “And without hesitation when I spoke to you on the phone, you said ‘I’ll be there in five minutes. What do you need?’ From a law enforcement officer, our greatest asset or resource are people who come to our aid, when a trooper is in trouble, or another officer or deputy is in trouble. The thing you want to hear is ‘what do you need?’ and ‘I’ll be there.’ And you did just that. When you arrived on scene, you were on top of it. And you made a comment to me that still sticks with me. ‘The board may not approve of what I’m doing. But I’ll deal with it because this is the right thing to do.’”
Root emphasized a second time, “There are many things that we do as part of our job duties. But what separates you from a leader and the rest of your coworkers, is a leader will do the things that they don’t have to do, because it’s the right thing to do. And this case, you did it because you felt in your mind it was the right thing to do. And in my mind, you helped save the lives of others. And that was the right thing to do. So, for that, I would like to thank you.”
Hobbs was the bus driver who helped transport the passengers of the Greyhound bus. “We’re only as good as the support staff that we have to help us. It takes a village to move a mountain, right? And we can’t do anything by ourselves. And you all were there,” Root told her. “You provided the assistance that we needed, got these passengers in a safe location, and they were all happy and smiling.”
“My board policy probably would not authorize us to transport people that are not school related or school affiliated,” Derringer noted. “I will say this board has supported any decision that we wanted to make as long as it’s been the right decision. This is probably something that violates our board policy. But in this case, we’re going to do what we think is the right thing to do.”