A 13-year veteran driver for the City of Muscatine’s Public Transit division has been named 2022 MuscaBus Driver of the Year. Bill McCracken, a life-long resident of Muscatine, will be recognized by the Iowa Public Transit Association later this year.
After over 40 years of working for Allsteel, McCracken knew it was time to retire, but he was not ready to completely stop working. While researching his options, he noticed that MuscaBus was hiring at the time, and decided to apply.
McCracken feels customer service and safely providing transportation to the people of the community is the most important aspect of operating a bus.
“I have always liked driving,” McCracken said. “Also, I enjoy meeting new people while providing a need that they have for transportation.”
McCracken drives the early shift and says he continues to work for MuscaBus because he has “a good relationship with my co-workers while we provide a service to folks that rely on us to get them to work or any other destination.”
McCracken was born and raised in Muscatine, and never wanted to move away. He married his high school sweetheart, Linda, and the couple will celebrate their 55th anniversary this October. Bill and Linda have two children, Shari and Brian, two grandchildren, one great granddaughter and two dogs.
The couple have had some very difficult times during their marriage but have become stronger with each challenge.
When their son, Brian, was 22-years-old, he was in a fatal car accident.
“This was the hardest thing we have gone through,”. McCracken said.
Bill and Linda relied on their faith in God to get them through this time and to have the strength to help others. The couple led the local chapter of Compassionate Friends for 17 and a half years, supporting other families dealing with tragedy by sharing their own life experiences.
“We were able to reach out to and support other families experiencing the death of a child, brother or sister,” McCracken said. “ We were able to cry with them, laugh with them, and sometimes hug them.”
Bill and Linda have also worked with the local police department for Operation Prom, educating high school students on the dangers of drinking and driving. McCracken noted that since it was started there has not been one death of any of our high school kids.
“I worked with the firemen by staging a car accident where one of the students died because of a drunk driver,” McCracken said. “Because alcohol was involved in our son’s death, I was able to share with them the dangers of drinking and driving, or getting into a car with a driver who has been drinking.”
McCracken had another challenge he had to face as a two-time cancer survivor. Following surgery to remove the cancer, McCracken was cancer free for seven years, but, unfortunately, the cancer returned. He was able to have radiation the second time and has now been cancer free for two years.
Even with these challenges, McCracken still has a good attitude, is always friendly, and greets everyone with a smile. He also enjoys camping throughout the summer and is often seen walking to and from work.
“McCracken is a great ambassador for MuscaBus and we are very thankful to have him as a member of our team,” Amy Fortenbacher, Transit Supervisor, said.