The general manager for Lakers Go Bus Society in Williams Lake is one of six people being recognized as a BC Transit SuperStar for dedication during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With older or compromised drivers working in the system, Tina Pilaskieweicz took on the role of transporting Covid-positive patients from rural areas and a nearby Indigenous community to receive care in Williams Lake in both 2020 and 2021.,” BC Transit noted in a new release. “She continues to lead by example, supporting her employees, community and beyond.”
Pilaskiewicz said she was excited to be part of the COVID-19 cohort, and revert to being a bus driver as she was when she first started out with the society in 1997.
“When it comes to positive COVID cases you want to be careful” she told the Tribune. “Not everybody wanted to be out there dealing with positive cases, especially if they had someone at home that was immune-compromised. You don’t want to take that chance and I can’t blame them.”
BC Transit and Interior Health has protocols in place so she was wearing a mask and gloves, plus all of the buses has barriers installed that separated the drivers from the passengers.
“We had sanitizing products and it was my choice to wear PPE. We did have the gowns,” she said. “The people we were transporting also wore their masks and had sanitizer.”
She drove the fleet’s smaller buses for the patient pick-up and the furthest west she went to was Anahim Lake.
“It was mostly in November and December. The words were pretty good out there until you got past Tatla Lake when the pavement ends. It was your typical winter driving.”
Pilsakiewicz has continued to enjoy her work and describes the people she works with as awesome.
There are six bus drivers and a maintenance and security staff person.
“Everybody chips in and helps where they can.”
Pilaskiewicz was born and raised in Williams Lake and is married to Lou Pilaskiewicz.
She said she left Williams Lake for a time, but returned to make a life here.