FORT KENT, Maine — Although Fort Kent and Presque Isle athletes are rivals on the soccer field and basketball court, it was SAD 1 transportation officials who stepped in and assisted several dozen Valley Rivers Middle School students when their bus broke down in Presque Isle on the way to a basketball tournament on Saturday.
Ricky Labbe, an SAD 27 bus driver and mechanic, was transporting the children to the tournament in Houlton, when he stopped at the Circle K convenience store in Presque Isle at 10 a.m. .
“The teams stopped and Mr. Labbe smelled fuel leaking from the bus,” Valley Unified Regional Community Outreach Coordinator Peter Caron said Monday.
Labbe notified SAD 27 Transportation Director Peter Saucier, who in turn contacted Ray Miller, the transportation director for SAD 1.
Miller provided one of his own district’s school buses to transport the young Warriors the rest of the way to the tournament in Houlton.
“We didn’t want them to be late for the game,” Miller said.
The students were back on the road in the borrowed bus by 10:30 a.m. and indeed made it on time to the tournament in Houlton.
In the meantime, Saucier delivered some parts to Presque Isle, where he helped Miller and Labbe repair the 2010 International school bus, which Miller said had a leaking fuel line.
“We probably had it fixed in an hour,” the SAD 1 transportation director said.
MIller said he was more than happy to help when Saucier called him on Saturday.
“I know Peter. I see him a couple times a year. He’s a good guy,” Miller said.
“Someday I might be in the same situation up in Fort Kent and I’m sure he’d do the same thing for me.”
After the tournament, the VRMS students rode back to Presque Isle, swapped vehicles and returned to Fort Kent on their newly repaired school bus.
“SAD 1 went way out of their way to help. It was much appreciated,” Labbe said.