‘For the love of the kids’: Michigan food delivery driver is Never Quit award winner

By AFSCME Staff ·

When the coronavirus pandemic shut almost everything down last spring, essential workers in communities across America never quit. They continued to report to work at great risk to themselves and their loved ones to provide the essential public services their neighbors relied on.

One of them was Diane Rang, of Romeo, Michigan. And the service she provided was delivering food for the children in her community.

“Diane worked the whole time,” says Nichol Haw, Rang’s supervisor. “She had to be helping us route food when we were in school, and then we also had a meal pickup once a week that she assisted us on as well.”

A food truck delivery driver for Romeo Community Schools in the Metro Detroit area, Rang has been serving the children in her community for 16 years. She began her career with the school system as a bus driver.

From the beginning, her job was about more than sitting behind the wheel of a bus. It was about listening to the kids and being there for them.

“When I was driving a bus, they didn’t have somebody to come and talk to,” she says. “You learned more about that kid by just being their bus driver and listening to their conversations. That’s the same way with the food service. They come to your line, they see you every day, and they might have a problem that they come to you with, so it’s not only about getting them their food and stuff, it’s being there for them when they need you the most.”

“And that’s the best part about it, if I can help a kid not go in the wrong direction and head him in the right direction, that makes it worthwhile,” Rang adds.

A member of AFSCME Local 2614 (Council 25), Rang is a winner of our union’s Never Quit Service Award, which recognizes public service workers who go above and beyond the call of duty.

Michelle McIntosh-Gerlach, a co-worker who nominated Rang for the award, says Rang is unique not only for what she does, but how she does it.

“She’s just truly amazing. She goes above and beyond all the time,” says McIntosh-Gerlach. “The district wouldn’t be the same without her. I can’t see someone else doing what Diane does, how she does it, with that constant smile on her face or a little joke that will make you laugh.”

As a food truck driver, Rang delivers food to seven different schools. During the worst of the pandemic, she was part of a team that provided school meals to children. Up to 752 meals for pickup in one night.

“We do it for the love of the kids,” Rang says. “It makes me feel good at heart…. And just to see the kids that they are getting something to eat and it’s nutritious and I know that the parents really appreciate it in our district. It’s rewarding just to help somebody else out that you can.”

Know a co-worker who goes above and beyond to make their community better? Nominate them for AFSCME’s Never Quit Service Award.