Mayor Chris Beutler today presented the Mayor's Award of Excellence for February to StarTran Bus Operator Tom Hoppes. The award was presented at the beginning of today's City Council meeting. The monthly award recognizes City employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the City.
Hoppes has worked for StarTran since 1988. He was nominated by Bus Operations Superintendent Mike Weston in the category of valor for his quick actions to help a passenger.
On January 20 of this year, Hoppes was loading two passengers on his Handi-Van at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital. The first passenger had boarded while Tom was preparing to assist the wheelchair-bound second passenger onto the lift. He heard a noise, looked into the van and noticed the first passenger was staggering and appeared to be choking and in great distress. Hoppes tried to talk to the passenger and determined that she was choking and could not breathe. He immediately administered the Heimlich procedure, dislodging the obstruction and allowing the passenger to breathe freely.
Weston wrote that Tom's quick, decisive actions may have saved the passenger's life. He said Tom has been "a dedicated bus operator for the City of Lincoln for over 25 years and serves as a great example of the type of people who work for StarTran."
The other categories in which employees can be nominated are loss prevention, customer relations, productivity and safety. Consideration also may be given to nominations that demonstrate self-initiated accomplishments or those completed outside of the nominee's job description. All City employees are eligible for the Mayor's Award of Excellence except for elected and appointed officials.
Individuals or teams can be nominated by supervisors, peers, subordinates and the general public. Nomination forms are available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: hr) or from department heads, employee bulletin boards or the Human Resources Department, which oversees the awards program.
All nominations are considered by the Mayor's Award of Excellence Committee, which includes a representative with each union and a non-union representative appointed by the Mayor. Award winners receive a $50 gift certificate, a day off with pay and a plaque. All monthly winners and nominees are eligible to receive the annual award, which comes with a $250 gift certificate, two days off with pay and a plaque.