OATS driver, Kathleen Reese, began her career on October 14, 1986. Twenty-five years ago, a close friend of Resseâ€™s informed her that she would be leaving her position at OATS and recommended that Reese look into the opening and take it over for her.
Reese did just that, and she has been happy with her decision ever since. Reese lovesÂ everything about her job, especially the people she interacts with daily. Reese shares a special bond with all of the people she drives for OATS. â€œI thank them everyday, because without them, I wouldnâ€™t have a job.â€
Reese says she has never forgotten anyone that she has driven over these past 25 years. She recalls a man named Harry who was 90 years old when she first met him. He would always joke around with her as he walked up the steps onto her bus. Reese enjoys building strong bonds with the people she hauls. â€œI like hearing their stories and hearing about what went on before my time.â€
Reese has also seen a lot of positive changes take place throughout her years of service with OATS. â€œWhen I first started, I used to drive a straight van that could only haul fourteen people,â€ she says. Today, OATS utilizes larger, more comfortable buses. OATS now has over 800 vehicles that provide trips for the people in Missouri.
Reese has four children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. â€œAfter my husband passed away, I donâ€™t know what I would have done without my job at OATS,â€ she says. â€œIt got me up, kept me busy and had me doing something everyday.â€
Tracy Walkup, Midwest Regional Director for OATS has been very appreciative of Reeseâ€™s hard work and dedication over these past 25 years, and that feeling is mutual. â€œTracy is fantastic, and OATS has so many great people working for them,â€ Reese says.