Tag Archives: Omnitrans vets

Vets ride free on Veterans Day

In appreciation for the contributions of the men and women who have served in our nation’s armed forces, Omnitrans is offering free bus rides to U.S. military veterans on Veterans Day, Tuesday, November 11.

Veterans simply need to show retired military ID when boarding any Omnitrans route including the sbX rapid line, 215 freeway express, 25 local bus routes, or 5 OmniGo community shuttle routes. Acceptable veteran IDs include those issued by the US Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs and  San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs.

“It’s our way of saying thanks to those who have served to protect our freedom,” said Omnitrans CEO/General Manager P. Scott Graham, himself a veteran of the US Marine Corps.   Omnitrans currently employs 78 military veterans, which is about 12 percent of the workforce. Approximately 79,000 veterans reside in the Omnitrans service area of the San Bernardino Valley, stretching from Yucaipa in the east to the LA County line in the west.

On January 5, 2015, Omnitrans will introduce a new reduced fare category for veterans.  “As part of our Veterans Day free ride offer, we hope to build awareness for the new fare and encourage veterans to get a retired military ID, if they don’t have one already,” said Omnitrans spokesperson Wendy Williams.

“Our veterans ID cards are offered to veterans with honorable military service at no charge and can be used to earn veteran discounts at over 1,000 local businesses,” said Bill J. Moseley, Director of San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs. Visit the county website for information on veterans ID applications or call 866-4SB-VETS (866-472-8387).

All Omnitrans routes will be running regular schedules on November 11, though Omnitrans offices are closed in observance of the holiday. The Veterans Day free ride offer is not applicable to Access service for persons with disabilities.

Personalized trip planning assistance is available through the Omnitrans information center, at 800-9-OMNIBUS (800-966-6428), or online at www.omnitrans.org.

Woman vet still going strong after 50

Verretta Johnson is a fleet safety and training instructor at Omnitrans who also serves as Air Force Active Reserve. She first joined the military just before she turned 22.

“I was living in Oxnard with my parents and knew that I wanted more. I loved being around people.  I loved to travel and wanted a career.  I didn’t want to be that person who spends her entire life in the same little town she grew up in. So I went down to the recruiting office and signed up for the Air Force.”

For years she was stationed in Riverside, never imagining she would ever be involved in a war. Then everything changed with Operation Just Cause. Verretta was given orders for Panama and instructed that her family would not be allowed to come with her. This was a devastating blow because she had recently gone through a divorce and had two small children who were 2 and 5 at the time. The two children would have to live with her mother over the next year.

“When I arrived there I immediately knew why. Huge tanks, demolished buildings and cement barricades were everywhere. I would wake up to the sounds of bombs dropping.  It was a definite life changer for me.  The bowling alley became the morgue. The supply warehouse for cold storage held the bodies. I woke up early one morning and saw a flatbed truck piled with body bags. When the driver made the turn, one of them rolled to the ground. It was a nightmare. Houses and apartment complexes were being blown to pieces while they were looking for Noriega. They would tell us that a couple of hundred people had been killed, but it was much more than that. These were 14 story high apartment buildings!  You knew that innocent civilians are being killed. There is nothing that can prepare you for that. My job was in supply, mostly keeping track of weapons-everyone was accountable for their equipment. Often I was getting up at 3 a.m. to retrieve top secret information from the safe for officers.”

“Despite it all Panama itself was beautiful. I could go outside and pick a mango off a tree. There were rich jungles, and animals like lemurs and iguana. The natives were some of the most gorgeous people I had ever seen in my life.  I would love to retire and live there. The food was amazing. You could go to the beach and get your food right out of the ocean within 5 minutes. Friends in the army and marines would come over and cook for shrimp and giant lobsters for us. We were pretty much restricted but made the best of it.”

“After 7 months I was finally allowed to go home to see my children. My mom hadn’t been letting them watch TV because the oldest knew where I was, and they were always showing pictures of Panama burning and all that. The hardest part came when I finally had to go back. My son grabbed leg, screamed and cried. It broke my heart, and I promised him I would never leave him again. Soon after, the Air Force began downsizing and offering people the opportunity to get out of the military. So I left active duty.”

“Once my kids were grown I decided to return and re-enlist in the Air Force at 50.  A lot had changed. They now have new fitness requirements every 6 months that include runs, sit-ups, and men’s push-ups—things that are a lot harder to do when you’re 50.  When I first enlisted, we had rolodexes, microfiche and binders. Now everything is electronic with ID card long ins. I had to start from scratch and learn new things. On top of that I was training these young people who are my kids age, and they are looking up to me because of my rank and my maturity level. I had to make sure I could train them and teach them what they needed to do. You want to make sure they are prepared. “

“I love the military and really hope I can continue. I don’t know how long my body will let me hold out, but as long as I can do it I will. I would like to put in my 20 years.  I love this sense of commitment and trying to do a good job and knowing that it matters. Coming from the military to Omnitrans was very much the same. When I’m training, I need to make sure that my students know what they’re doing and can do a good job. Just like in the military, anything can happen. You have to know how to handle yourself because there is no time to think about it.”

“I have friends I met in basic training who are still close friends today. We all celebrated our 50th birthday together. It’s like Omnitrans. You’re here for so long that people become like family and you look out for each other. Military was no different. You see each other through births, deaths, divorces, hardships, everything. You’ve been through so much together that you understand each other better than anyone else.  You would never leave a soldier behind or a coach operator stranded in the road. That’s just the way it is.”

– Juno Kughler Carlson

Do you like this story and want to use it for your blog or newsletter? All our stories may be freely re-posted and shared with others!

Do you have a great Omnitrans story to share? Let us know!

Email Juno Kughler Carlson at  juno.carlson@omnitrans.org

Omnitrans Honors America’s Veterans

On Veterans Day, our country pays tribute to more than 26 million brave Americans who have served in our armed forces. We owe the many freedoms we often take for granted to their collective sacrifice and dedication. Without them, our nation and world would be an entirely different place. To those who served, we say thank you.

REGISTER ONLINE FOR JOBS AT OMNITRANS.

Military veterans often possess the skills and training that match jobs in public transportation. Veterans and others interested in a career at Omnitrans can sign up to receive notifications of future job openings through the OmniAlerts section of the Omnitrans website, www.omnitrans.org. Current openings and general information about working at Omnitrans are posted online at www.omnitrans.org/about/careers/

Omnitrans Employs Vets in Many Roles.

Omnitrans is privileged to have 90 employees who are also military veterans, whom we have listed below. Just as they served our country in a variety of ways, these veterans are deployed in a variety of roles at Omnitrans, from Coach Operator to Equipment Mechanic, Department Director and more. One employee is currently on active duty and two are active reserve. We are proud to have them on our team.

  • Kevin Allen
  • Rick Alverez
  • Carol Angier
  • Joe Armenta
  • Darrell Bell
  • Patrick Belton
  • Mike Bonacio
  • Robin Bose
  • Salvador Botello
  • Allan Bowman
  • Byron Brown
  • Jon Bryant
  • Fausto Bustos
  • Diane Caldera
  • William Carnall
  • Craig Chance
  • Jami Cisneros
  • Edward Cooney
  • William Collins
  • Aron Cook
  • Joanne Cook
  • Kevin Copeland
  • Paul Coussa
  • Thomas Dahlin
  • Joseph Day
  • Leonard Diaz
  • Mark Donley
  • Dennis Eaves
  • John Ellis
  • Raymond Ellis
  • Xavier Estrada
  • Ronald Freeland
  • John Gavin
  • La’ Vern Gerald
  • Terrence Gipson
  • Andres Gomez
  • Scott Graham
  • William Hall Jr
  • Jerry Henry
  • Alejandro Hernandez
  • Daniel Hernandez
  • Manuel Herrera
  • Bryant Hogan
  • Brian Hoppie
  • Roy Hoskinson
  • Dion Igyarto
  • Verretta Johnson
  • Dennis Jones
  • Eric Keeney
  • Michael Kevorkian
  • Joseph Krolik
  • Effie Lee
  • Ralph Ligon
  • Elliot Lipsey
  • George Lizama
  • Ray Lopez
  • Daniel Luna
  • Glennvanni Maiquez
  • John Martinez
  • Albert Matthews
  • Herald Mc Coy
  • Dennis Mc Neir
  • Harold Mc Rant
  • Alan Mooney
  • Robert Neilson
  • Jack Oliver
  • Lionell Olley Sr.
  • Alfred Orozco
  • Gregory Owens
  • Robert Peters
  • Michael Plunkett Jr.
  • Dwaun Roberson
  • Archie Rockwell
  • Alex Rosas
  • Derman Redman
  • Phillip Sosa
  • Joseph Sozanski
  • John Stafford
  • Douglas Stanley
  • John Steffon
  • Hosia Stokes
  • Krafton Stoll
  • Wallace Tatum
  • Willie J Thomas
  • David Torres
  • Emilio Torres
  • Forrest Tucker
  • William Valle
  • Art Villagran
  • Donald Walker
  • Allen Wild
  • Paul Wichman
  • Clarence Wingfield
  • Martin Yedwalsky

PLEASE NOTE: Omnitrans buses will be running as scheduled on Monday, November 12th. However our administrative offices will be closed in observance of the Veterans Day holiday

Buses running, offices closed Monday

Omnitrans salutes America's Veterans

Holiday Schedule
Omnitrans buses will be running as scheduled thoughout the Veterans Day holiday. However our administrative offices will be closed on Monday, November 12th.

Our Proud Veterans
 If you see your any of your coach operators wearing one of these buttons over the weekend, you will know that they are one of the many military men and women employed by Omnitrans. Over the next few days we will be sharing some of their personal stories with you on our blog.

To all who have served in our nation’s military over the years, we salute you and thank you for your service.