Anthony Stoutermire is now driving his 48-seat DDOT bus in a safe, cool and calm manner. He sits tall and proud. He’s made a total comeback after four years of healing from serious injury, painful physical therapy, mental health therapy and job retraining.
Anthony first discovered his desire to drive while working full-time performing bus maintenance with Total Bus Company. He worked hard to ensure the buses in the maintenance yard were in tip top condition and couldn’t help but wonder about how it would feel to drive one.
Eventually, he took on a part-time job as a delivery driver for Happy’s Pizza. One night, during a routine delivery stop, his car was suddenly surrounded by several armed men. Anthony struggled to get away. While wrestling with a gun-carrying gang member, the gun fired, wounding his assailant. His attackers momentarily hesitated. Anthony seized on his opportunity to drive off, but did not get far. He was in such a panic that he crashed into a telephone pole a few yards up the road, and then blacked out. Anthony was awakened by loud shouts over his car radio by an OnStar attendant. His airbag had deployed, and he felt intense pain in his right shoulder. The money and pizza he had been carrying were gone.
Anthony went through physical therapy for rotator cuff injuries for a year, followed by mental health therapy for another year. At the court trial, he learned that his main attacker was 19 years old, the same age as his own son. For years thereafter, Anthony was haunted by fatherly fears that he could not successfully keep his son from making the same kind of serious mistake as had his assailant.
When Anthony again felt ready to pursue his career path, he attended a WIOA Program orientation at the Michigan Works! Livonia Service Center. His Case Manager, Kathryn Schafer, assisted Anthony in his effort to rediscover himself and find employment. He attended the seminars that she conducted on cover letters, resume writing and job interviewing. Ms. Schafer guided Anthony to pursue both short- and long-term goals, and he received WIOA funding for a CDL-A Driver Training course. On March 12, 2016, he successfully graduated from training at the Great American Truck Driving School, an experience that he described as truly “hands on.”
In his job search, Anthony sensed that employers were reluctant to hire him because he had not participated in the workforce for many years. So, on May 16, 2016, in order to prove he could be a productive member of the workforce, he took a food service job with Sky Chefs, Inc. at Detroit Metro Airport. Anthony continued his search for a Driver job, and in October, he received a job lead from Michigan Works! Business Service Representative Jack Jackson. He pursued this job opportunity with the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT), and on November 14, Anthony began employment with DDOT as a Transportation Equipment Operator.
Summarizing his experience as a WIOA participant, Anthony commented, “Michigan Works! really helps,” and “Patience pays off!”