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Honoring the Heroic Actions of Michele Coates

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American Government Buses Topics:  Michele Coates

Honoring the Heroic Actions of Michele Coates

Congresswoman Barbara Comstock
Congressional Record: 114th Congress
Extensions of Remarks
29 September 2016

HON. BARBARA COMSTOCK of Virginia in the House of Representatives
Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Mrs. COMSTOCK. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor my constituent Michele Coates of Loudoun County, Virginia, for her heroic actions on September 23rd, 2016. Michele has been driving school buses in Loudoun County for the past 14 years and recently demonstrated her commitment to the safety of her students.

During her usual route to Harmony Middle School in Hamilton, Virginia, Michele was confronted by a situation she never thought she would have to face. While driving on Berlin Turnpike, Michele and her students noticed an unusual odor circulating the bus cabin. After safely pulling the bus over to the side of the road, Michele put the lives of her students above that of her own and ensured that all 32 students evacuated the bus safely. When emergency personnel arrived at the scene, they immediately determined that the bus was suffering from a smoke and gas leak.

It was at this point that Michele realized that she did not feel well and was subsequently taken to the emergency room at Cornwall Inova for smoke inhalation. Even while she was in the ambulance, Michele's main concern was the safety of her students. In all, seventeen students were taken to Cornwall Inova to receive treatment for their exposure to the toxic fumes. Had Michele not been so quick thinking and selfless, that day could have ended much worse.

Mr. Speaker, Michele Coates does not ask for recognition. She claims that her actions were not heroic, rather her duty. This is why I ask that my colleagues join me in thanking Michele for her actions, which without a doubt saved the lives of those 32 schoolchildren on that bus. I applaud her for her willingness to endanger herself in order to protect her students. I wish her all the best in her recovery, as well as her future endeavors.

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