Couple end long tenures with B-L bus service
A lot has changed in the bus service industry since Nina Kreutzer started driving for the Basehor School District in 1972.
The buses have gone from basic stick shifts to automatics with cruise control and some even have air conditioning. More extensive training is required for drivers now and the bus fleet has grown from about four buses to more than 25.
"There's been big changes," Kreutzer said. "The training is one of the biggest. It's so detailed now."
After 36 years with the Easton Bus Service and working with the Basehor-Linwood School District, Kreutzer decided to retire along with her husband Leo, who also worked for Easton for about 22 years.
Nina started out as a driver, later became transportation director and then a bus supervisor for special education students. She said she enjoyed all of her roles, but was especially disappointed to leave the children.
"I got real attached to those special ed kids," she said. "You don't drive when you do that so you give your full time to the kids. It's a very rewarding area to be in. It's a rewarding profession and I think I enjoyed every minute of it."
Cheryl Blackburn, the district's current director of transportation, took over the position after Nina retired from it about 12 years ago. Blackburn said she considers Nina a mentor.
"She did a great job," she said. "What I learned to do I learned from her."
Leo spent his stint performing on-site maintenance on the buses and driving them to the headquarters in Easton for larger repairs.
Blackburn said his work is something the other employees will miss.
"Every morning I would call him and tell him about any problems we may be having and he got out there and fixed them," she said. "We're really going to miss that because he was really good about keeping up with all of that. They were dedicated employees at the bus company and with the school district."
The couple said they would take some time to travel and camp during their retirement, as well as enjoy different hobbies on their seven acres.
"We've been to every state in the United States," Nina said. "We have a fifth wheel so we like to spend time at Stockton Lake. We like to do that in the spring and fall when the fishing is good."
Both of them enjoy reading and working in their large garden, she said.
"We have a big garden and I have flowers everywhere," Nina said. "That's when I think I'll really enjoy it - when I don't have to watch the clock and I'm not rushed. I don't think we'll have any trouble keeping busy."