A Dutchess County man was named the "School Bus Driver of the Year."

On Wednesday, Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro announced Vincent Valentino, of the Pawling Central School District, as the winner of the 17th annual Dutchess County School Bus Driver of the Year award, recognizing his exemplary service and safety record.

“I commend Mr. Valentino for his dedication to the students he safely transports each day and the community that relies on his faithful service," Molinaro said. "I congratulate Mr. Valentino on his exemplary driving record, and our community thanks him for his devotion to our children.”

Valentino, who has been employed by the Pawling Central School District for seven years and has been an accident-free bus driver for more than 37 years, according to a press release.

“Mr. Valentino is a model driver who understands and embraces what it is to be a school bus driver – not just what it takes to drive a school bus," Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board Administrator William C. Johnson said. "He has achieved an exceptional safety record and Mr. Valentino’s contributions to the Pawling district go way beyond his ability and passion to safely transport children."

The Dutchess County Traffic Safety Board’s School Bus Driver of the Year award seeks to promote school bus safety through education and enforcement efforts.

The annual award was initiated in 2002 to increase public awareness regarding school bus safety issues and to recognize school bus drivers who get children to and from school safely on a daily basis.

Valentino was given a commemorative plaque and honored as the School Bus Driver of the Year at the Pawling Central School District offices Wednesday morning.

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