Arrowhead Transit
Koochiching Itasca Aitkin Carlton St Louis Lake Cook Pine

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Arrowhead Transit buses will not be running on Friday, April 18 in commemoration of the Day. Buses will be running as normal on Saturday and Sunday, April 19 & 20.

Arrowhead Transit is hiring part-time bus drivers in Grand Rapids and Pine County. Starting pay is $11.95/hour. If interested, call Martin Lepak 218-410-9755. You can apply online: www.aeoa.org and follow the link through the careers tab.

This has been a long winter! If you need to get away, schedule a trip on Jefferson Lines at their website jeffersonlines.com. If there is a Jefferson Lines bus stop and a Dial-A-Ride in your town, Arrowhead Transit will get you to the Jefferson Lines bus stop for FREE! And Jefferson Lines will take you to any of their 4000 plus destinations for HALF PRICE! Let our dispatcher know you are going to a Jefferson Lines bus stop to get your free ride. When you purchase your Jefferson Lines ticket online put in the promotional code ARROWHEAD50 to get your ticket at 50% off. This offer is good through April 15, 2014.

If you have had your 90th birthday, you are entitled to an unlimited free pass on any of the Arrowhead Transit buses. To get your pass, call me. My name is Larry Rodgers. I am the marketing coordinator at Arrowhead Transit. My phone number is 218-735-6815

Save yourself some time. When you call for your ride on Arrowhead Transit 800-862-0175, as soon as you hear, “Thank you for calling Arrowhead Transit, your ride.” You can hit area’s option number and get right through to your dispatcher: Virginia Dial-A-Ride only, option 1; St Louis and Kooch Counties, option 2; Pine, Carlton and Lake Counties, option 3; Itasca and Aitkin Counties, option 4

Dial-A-Ride Virginia, Grand Rapids and Cloquet: Mon – Fri: 7 am – 8 pm Sat: 9 am – 5 pm Sun: 8 am – 2 pm Pine City Mon – Fri: 8 am – 6 pm Sat: 9 am – 5 pm International Falls Mon – Fri: 7 am – 7 pm Sat: 9 am – 3 pm. Two Harbors, Grand Marais, Aitkin, Floodwood, Ely and Chisholm also have Dial-A-Ride service. From most cities in the eight counties of the Arrowhead, we provide bus service to Duluth and/or Brainerd one or more times a month. We also have many bus routes between cities in the Arrowhead. Check out our schedule by clicking on the county where you wish to travel. All buses are fully handicapped accessible and the seats are designed to safely secure car seats. Certified service dogs are welcome. Bicycles may be brought on the bus. ScheduledDial-A-Ride, and Rural Rides services provide flexible options for your travel needs. New to riding with Arrowhead Transit? Here’s what you need to know.

glenn with busOn Thursday afternoon, October 31, Arrowhead Transit driver Glenn Westing of Pine City was concerned when one of his passengers called up to him that another  passenger was having a seizure.

Glenn normally drives the Pine City Dial-A-Ride route but on occasion he takes people with special needs to their place of work. He knows each one by name and by personality. He knows how each one will greet him each day. Glen also knew that seizures were just one of the things this passenger had to deal with each day.

“How is she doing?” he asked.

“Everything’s fine now,” he was told. But Glenn didn’t want to take any chances so he called into Arrowhead Transit’s dispatch. “I’m going to need permission to deviate from my regular route,” he told them. “I have a passenger here who needs to be brought to her home right away.”

Dispatch gave him permission. But as Glenn was pulling onto the highway, a very scared voice called out that this woman who had been having a seizure had now stopped breathing.

Glenn immediately pulled over to the side of the road. He went back to where she was and felt for the carotid pulse in her neck. There was none. He checked for breathing. Her chest cavity wasn’t moving. He gave her a hard pinch. She was totally unresponsive.

He grabbed his radio and told dispatch to call 911. Then he and one of the passengers lowered the woman from the upright bus seat and on to the floor. He started CPR with full chest compressions and mouth to mouth resuscitation.

Some of the other passengers were crying and began to move about. “Everybody needs to remain seated. Everybody needs to stay on the bus,” Glenn commanded. “We are on a very busy highway.”

He kept on with the CPR which seemed like forever to him, but he thinks was probably about 3 minutes. Then the she started to cough…she was breathing! Glenn brought up his head and loudly said, “Amen!” He asked her for her name and she responded correctly.

Deputy Sheriff Tom Meier arrived less than five minutes after the call went out. He came onto the bus to assess the situation. Glenn told him what had happened. As they were talking, they both saw something was still very wrong. The woman had stopped breathing again. Deputy Meier started chest compressions. Glenn did the mouth to mouth resuscitation. Again it seemed like forever, but again the woman began breathing on her own. A relieved Glenn asked her how she was doing. “Good,” she told him.

The Pine City Medical Team arrived.  Glenn assisted them with getting the woman onto a stretcher for transportation to Grantsburg Hospital.

“You saved her life twice,” Deputy Meier told Glenn.

“Hey, thanks for your help sir,” said Glenn.

Dispatch stayed on the radio during all this time. They asked if Glenn needed some help getting the other passengers back to their homes.

“Yeah, you better send another bus,” Glenn told them.

Another Arrowhead Transit driver, Bob Pitzen from Pine City got on his radio.  “I’ll be there in a few minutes,” he told Glenn.

When the other bus arrived, Glenn and Bob assisted the passengers who lived north of Hwy 70 onto the other bus. “Everything is all right,” Glenn told them, one by one. “She’s going to be fine.”

Much to everyone’s amazement, the passenger was back on the bus two days later; off to work as usual.

Glenn learned CPR while serving in the U.S. Air Force. He is a retired electrician of the IBEW. As an electrician he also received CPR training. The only other time he used CPR was 36 years ago on his grandfather.

“I am so impressed with Glenn,” said Voni Smolke, Regional Manager for Arrowhead Transit. “He saved this young lady’s life because he knew exactly what to do. Also, he had the presence of mind to make sure the other passengers on his bus remained calm and safe.

“I knew when I hired Glenn that he would make a great driver for Arrowhead Transit. This incident is not the only one where he has proven me right. He’s so good to his riders. They all know he really cares for them,” said Voni.

For Arrowhead Transit driver Tim McQueen, emergencies had been part of his daily routine.

So on Monday afternoon, July 1, when one of his riders appeared to be having a stroke like symptoms, McQueen immediately took action.

“We were stopped at the Laurentian Apartments in Virginia,” said McQueen, “when one of my passengers called up to me. ‘Could you bring me back to the Columbia Apartments? I think I need to get off. I’m just not feeling very well.’”

McQueen drove the bus to the Columbia. One of the other passengers said, “Tim, I don’t think she’s able to get out of her seat.”

“I bailed out of my seat. By the time I got to her, she was standing up and holding on to the vertical pole,” said McQueen. “I could see she was shaky so I took a hold of her with both hands to help her down the steps. I almost gave her a bear hug to get her all the way down. She asked me to bring her over to the bench. I held on to her and walking backwards and sat her down.”

As he was holding on to her, McQueen noticed there was a droop in the left corner of her mouth. “Smile at me,” he told her. McQueen knew that if the droop was still there when she smiled, something was seriously wrong.

“What else is going on?” he asked her. She told him she had numbness and weakness on her right side. “I asked her if I could call the ambulance for her. She wasn’t sure, so I asked her again. She nodded so I called 911 direct.” The ambulance was there in a matter of minutes. McQueen gave the emergency workers a quick synopsis of what happened as they loaded her into the ambulance. He then called Transit’s dispatch and continued on his route.

“I would really like to know how she is doing,” said McQueen. She was one of his regular riders. “I hope she’s all right. She’s a nice lady. But you know, emergency medicine can do a lot nowadays. The faster a person gets treatment, the better their chance for a full recovery.”

McQueen is retired from the Virginia Fire Department where he was a paramedic fire captain. He then worked as a driver for Arrowhead Transit for two years. He took a year off but he felt he had to come back again. “I like this job,” said McQueen. “I like the guys I work with. What I’m doing helps out a lot of people.”

Safety and Training Coordinator for Arrowhead Transit Carlo DelCaro said, “A lot of our drivers have some sort of emergency medical background. That’s definitely something we look for when we hire drivers. Many received their medical training while working in the mines.”

DelCaro gives all new drivers four hours of first aid training. Before they start driving, they are certified in first aid by the American Heart Association. Among other things, all Transit drivers are taught to recognize the symptoms of heart attack, stroke, seizures, and heat exhaustion. They learn how to stop arterial bleeding and how to clear airways. “It’s a good program,” said DelCaro.

“I’m really pleased how our drivers have responded so quickly to emergencies,” said Associate Director Joe Gentile. “A few weeks back a lady in Pine County flagged down one of our drivers. She needed help so he immediately called 911.”

“We have a good crew,” said Gentile. “It’s a really good group of drivers. Every single one of them works for Transit because they care about the people in their community.”