Clovis youth find safe places thanks to bus driver

Clovis Transit driver Kenneth Lee speaks at the March 19 city council meeting after being honored for assisting youth through Fresno EOC’s Safe Place program. (Ron Sundquist/Clovis Roundup)

When the city of Clovis’ transit fleet partnered with Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission and its Safe Place program in November, it was unknown whether youth in Clovis would utilize the services offered by a mobile Safe Place. But, in just a few short months, one transit driver has already come to the aid of three local youth in need.

Driver Kenneth Lee, a 30-year Marine Corps veteran, was honored by the city council at its March 19 meeting for his outstanding service in assisting these young members of the community who came aboard his bus seeking help. Once he was approached, on each separate occasion, Lee properly responded by collaborating with Fresno Area Express (FAX) to safely transfer the youth to a designated Safe Place facility where they could access the resources provided by EOC for youth in crisis.

“He has demonstrated a commitment to serving the young people of Clovis by providing information and immediate assistance to youth,” councilmember Vong Mouanoutoua read as part of the city’s proclamation honoring Lee.

Lee humbly accepted the recognition, thanking Fresno County EOC, Clovis transit, and the city for implementing the Safe Places program and giving him training to aid youth.

“Words can’t even express how I feel right now,” Lee said. “I thank my bosses who are here tonight and the training. It’s all about the training that I received. I know about training from the Marine Corps and now I know about training to assist others outside in my new profession. It is all about the training and what it takes to get the job done. I thank God most of all for a smile and a personality that allows kids to be able to walk up to me and ask, ‘what’s that sign for and can you help me?’ Every one of them who approached me was somehow attracted to my smile and I can’t get rid of it. Yes, a Marine has a smile on. God gave it to me.”

Mayor Bob Whalen encouraged Lee to continue being a friendly and approachable representative of Clovis.

“We are proud of your efforts and how you represent Clovis with that smile,” Whalen said. “We are thankful for your duty to our country as well as the city of Clovis.”

Later in the week following Lee’s recognition, Fresno EOC designated its Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program location on Shaw and Willow avenues as Clovis’ newest Safe Place site.