On Jan. 16, our two children, aged six and eight, were on their school bus heading to Vernon Christian School when the bus slid on ice and ended up tipped over on one side.
Receiving the call that our children were in an accident and were being taken to the hospital is one of the worst things a parent can hear. It was a huge relief to see for ourselves that the children were physically unharmed.
If this accident had to happen, it had the best possible outcome and highlighted some of Vernon’s shining stars and we wanted to point them out.
First, to our bus driver, who in our opinion made the right decision to try and put the bus in the ditch to avoid the other two options, which would most likely have had a very bad outcome. This was echoed by the RCMP on the scene.
Of course the driver did not expect the bus to tip over. He only had a few seconds to decide what to do upon weighing out the options. We will forever hold the driver in our hearts with such gratitude.
Secondly, we are thankful for all of the emergency personnel who attended the scene and assisted all of the children to get out of the bus, and kept them safe until transported to the hospital.
Thirdly, we want to praise Vernon Jubilee Hospital and its reaction to the event. When we arrived at the hospital, I was in near panic mode, wanting nothing more than to see that my children were ok with my own eyes. Upon entering the busy ER waiting room, we were met by hospital staff, Vernon Christian School Staff and hospital security. We were ushered immediately to our children, who were sitting up in assessment chairs, waiting to be seen by the doctor. What a relief indeed. Once given a clean bill of health (other than a few bruises) the children were released into our care. The hospital provided the children juice and cookies before they left. The hospital staff were not overwhelmed, but we as parents sure were. We feel so proud of our local hospital and it is comforting to know it is standing ready to manage what is brought its way.
Lastly, we have to thank the staff at Vernon Christian School for the way they handled the bus accident. As soon as they learned of the incident, they kept parents informed continually. Teachers and counselors attended the scene to support the children and be there as they were transported to the hospital. There were staff members at the hospital to be with the children and parents as they arrived, ensuring each child was not alone and later, the staff touched base with the children as they were released into their parents care.
To assist the children in dealing with this event, VCS made crisis counselling available to anyone involved. The school counsellors even sent an e-mail to the parents with information about helping our children cope with a traumatic experience and that information helped us in the early days after the event. The school also informed us parents that they will be providing an opportunity for the children from the bus incident to meet together and talk through the event with counselors present to facilitate.
We are amazed at how our Vernon Christian School had handled this incident. They went above and beyond and there are no words to adequately express our gratitude.
Our children are doing much better and are back to pestering each other, as usual. To those shining stars mentioned above, we will continue to be boasting with pride about you all.
Shanda and Wade Hammerton