My Outlook: Pastor Pete Balaban, School Bus Driver

How long have you been driving a bus for Edmond Public Schools?

Since the fall of 2002.

Pastor Pete BalabanWhat’s your favorite part about driving a school bus?

Dealing with the kids every day. I get to see them when I pick them up and when I drop them off. They share stories, bits about their lives & things that are going on.

What makes you a unique school bus driver?

The kids seem to enjoy my playful attitude, and yet they respect me as their bus driver as well. I put posters and sayings on my bus to encourage positive attitudes. I think they know that I care about them.

What inspired you to become a school bus driver?

The original drive was to get a job that would provide health Insurance as we began our new ministry. But it has turned into so much more.

We’ve seen some great pictures of you dressed up for Halloween & driving the bus—what was your favorite costume?

Probably the sheriff, but I have been a clown, Fred Flintstone, Herman Munster, a professional wrestler, and Hagrid from the Harry Potter stories.

What’s the most bizarre or interesting thing that’s happened to you while driving a school bus?

I think it’s when you have a lost kid on your bus—one who is not sure where he or she lives or where their bus stop is. You reassure them that you will get them home safe and sound—together we will figure it all out.

How long have you been a Pastor for Lighthouse Lutheran Church?

I began pastoring Lighthouse the same year, in 2002. 

Pastor Pete BalabanRumor has it you’re a pretty great storyteller. Can you tell us about that?

Once upon a time… Wait, you want me to tell you about my storytelling. It ties deeply into my ministry as I undertook a Doctor of Ministry study. My thesis is entitled: “Storytelling is an effective means of communicating the Gospel in the Emerging Culture.”

Where do you tell your stories?

Besides using stories in church messages, I have been reaching out and doing stories in the community as well. I have been asked to tell “The Polar Express” for several years running for local elementary schools.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like to watch OSU sports but I also enjoy watching college, high school, middle school, and even elementary school sports when there is someone I know participating. After that, I would have to say fostering retired racing greyhounds has been something my wife and I have been involved in for more than 10 years. They are such great animals and become such wonderful family pets! 

What’s your favorite part about fostering dogs?

Seeing the joy when one of our fosters gets adopted into a family of their own! We began fostering after my wife, Marilyn, and I had such a great experience adopting our first greyhound. We decided we’d like a playmate for him, and the group suggested becoming foster parents, so we did. We eventually adopted another greyhound but continued to foster an additional two at a time. We have been doing that for almost 10 years.

Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you?

I have been blessed with having some of the most incredible people in my life over the years. They have blessed me beyond anything I deserve. I know that God is good; that He loves me—and because of that, I can love others. I believe that love is a decision, and I love you! And, attitude IS everything!

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