MUSTANG, Okla. (KFOR) – The Mustang community is remembering a beloved member of its school staff after she passed away due to COVID.
For more than two decades, Tammy Hutchison drove the special education bus for Mustang Schools, building countless relationships with the children along the way.
“Special needs was like her heart when she got that she loved that,” said daughter Katie Matthis. “She got to know each student…when they got newer buses and stuff she could have gotten back to get a new bus but she wasn’t gonna leave her kids.”
Unfortunately, this is not the first person the Mustang transportation community has recently lost. Hutchison is the third bus driver who has passed away due to COVID. Two additional drivers have also recently passed away, although their passing was not COVID-related.
Matthis says losing a family member due to the virus has changed her perspective.
“It’s just a number to you until it happens to you,” she said. “To me it’s not a number at all anymore…these people had a life and had people that loved them.”
Matthis and her sister, Brandy Sallee, have been surprised by the Bronco family’s response. They have received an outpouring of support from the parents of children who rode on their mother’s bus.
“It [has] been overwhelming,” Sallee said. “[Katie’s phone] has been going off all day long.”
Matthis echoed the same sentiment.
“We didn’t even realize it,” she said. “I knew she was amazing but I’ve been partial — she’s my mother.”
Many people have left comments on Facebook and on Hutchison’s virtual obituary on what “Miss Tammy” meant to them and their children.
The sisters say it’s not quite time to read them because it’s too difficult. But they do have a message for everyone who got to know their mom.
“Thank you so much for all the support and the outpouring and people that…have loved her as much as we did,” Matthis said. “It is overwhelming.”
Hutchison’s funeral will be held in Mustang on Tuesday.
A GoFundMe has been created to help with funeral costs, and the sisters say it was in response to the community reaching out and asking what they can do to help.