SIOUX FALLS, S.D (KELO) For many students, one of the first people they see everyday is their bus driver. Drivers with School Bus Inc, in Sioux Falls, transport over 8,000 students to school.

More than 100 bus drivers gathered in the bus barn for an appreciation breakfast hosted by the Promising Futures Fund.

“Their job is critical. 1/3 of our school kids in the Sioux Falls School District count on a bus driver, getting them to school safely and back home. That’s a huge percentage of our kids that rely on busing,” said Steve Hildebrand, Promising Futures Fund.

This was the second year of the event.

“It’s just so important for us to thank these drivers and thank the aides for the critical work that they do to serve our kids,” Hildebrand said.

Today’s event featured a catered breakfast, gift cards and a custom thermos for each driver and a raffle.

Dan Bonderson was one of the many raffle winners. He won one of the bigger prizes, two Vikings tickets.

“I’m very excited. My daughter is a big football fan. So I think I’ll bring her along,” said Dan Bonderson, Driver and trainer.

Bonderson has worked for School Bus Inc for the last 12 years. He says it’s nice to be recognized.

“Just the kids you know, I love to drive the bus. I feel like it’s a public service. It’s just it’s just fun. I find it very fun and rewarding,” Bonderson said.

Though this event is today, those with the School District, School Bus Inc and Promising Futures Fund say you can show your appreciation for bus drivers all year round.

This week is National School Bus Safety week.

Representatives with School Bus Inc and the Sioux Falls School District say one of the best things the public can do is keep an eye out for busses at stop signs and when students are getting on and off the bus.

To visit the Promising Futures Fund’s website, click here.