Tighe honored for 20 years with JETS


JETS Manager Jamie Ginter (left) presents Bob Tighe of Monticello with a plaque for his 20 years of service. (Photos by Kim Brooks)

Helping to celebrate Tighe’s service with JETS includes, from left, Jerry Lindner, Misty Van Fossen, Jamie Ginter, Tighe, Jim Loes, Jeff Heitz, Diz Edwards, and Brad Roe. Not pictured was Lynn Goode.
By: 
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Last week, Jones County JETS honored Bob Tighe, 86.5 years old, of Monticello for his 20 years of work driving for the JETs transportation service.

   “It’s not work,” Tighe said. “I never saw it as a job.”

   Tighe started driving for JETS on April 26, 2004.

   “When he started, he said he was just going to do it for two years and retire,” joked JETS Manager Jamie Ginter.

   Last year the IPTA (Iowa Public Transit Association) honored Tighe as the “Driver of the Year.” Eligibility is based on how many hours a driver puts in a year, as well as longevity.

   “That’s the first time someone from JETS was nominated,” Ginter said.

   Tighe was hired by former JETS Manager, Kathy Koerperich, before she retired and Ginter was hired.

   After 34 years, Tighe retired from working for State Farm Insurance, both in Iowa City and Monticello, in December 2003.

   “I laid around for two months,” he joked, “and my wife decided I needed to do something to get me out of the house.”

   He said it was an ad in the Express that spurred his interest in JETS.

   “They were looking for drivers,” he recalled. “I thought I might like to do that for a year or two.”

   Twenty years later, Tighe is still at it.

   “Everybody needs something that gets them up in the morning, gives them something to do,” urged Tighe. “I enjoy it; I enjoy the people I work with and the people I haul.”

   He works about 20 hours a week, hauling up to 16 people in the JETS’ bus.

   When he started out, Tighe was driving “all over” to Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. The last 10 years or so, he sticks to trips within Jones County.

   JETS serves all members of the general public, including those with disabilities, those on Medicare, and those on Medicaid.

   “There are no restrictions,” noted Ginter.

   They provide transportation to in-county and out-of-county locations.

   Drivers are paid an hourly wage, with many of them averaging 16 to 24 hours a week.

   “It varies,” Ginter said. “Some weeks they might drive more; some weeks, less.”

   Tighe said driving for JETS is a service for the public.

   “It’s about helping people out; a lot of people have needs,” he said. “This is a way to help people remain independent.”

   Ginter, Dispatcher Misty Van Fossen, and many JETS drivers all surprised Tighe on June 12 at the JETS facility on John Drive in Monticello. Ginter presented Tighe with a plaque commemorating his 20 years.

   “This was a complete surprise!” remarked Tighe. “I never expected this. I appreciate it.”

   Tighe expressed that he gets more of a benefit out of working for JETS than the members of the public he hauls around.

   “I like older people and I’m much older than they are,” he joked.

   Tighe can also be found out on the golf course and riding his e-bike (electric bike) to work every day.

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