Submitted by Twin Transit
In Peggy Haase’s 30 years of service as a Twin Transit bus driver, she’s helped catch a bank robber, rescued lost mail and administered first aid to a young boy injured in a hit and run. Once, she paused her route just long enough to extinguish a field fire with a nearby garden hose, saving a family’s barn in the process. Another time, she rescued a choking toddler by administering first aid. It’s been an adventurous 30 years, highlighted by strong personal relationships and compassionate service.
Haase celebrated her 30th anniversary at Twin Transit on October 25, followed by a party on October 28. In the organization’s 42-year history, Haase is the first driver to achieve 30 years of service. “Peggy is a pillar in our Twin Transit family,” said Operations Director Melissa Shoemaker. “Her dedication to the organization, her passengers, and community have helped shape our organization and remind us why we come to work every day. She is dependable, positive, and innovative. She is poised with her customers and coworkers and calmly responds to pressure on the job. She brings a fun attitude to the workplace and is a joy to be around. Thank you, Peggy, for 30 wonderful years!”
Haase is the driving force behind Twin Transit’s biggest holiday traditions, like the Christmas Lights Tour. This annual event takes community members on a free, holiday tour of the area’s most beautiful luminary displays. “My dad used to take us out and look at the lights every year,” Haase recalled. “It was so cool to see them. I wanted to do that for other people. They deserve to enjoy that holiday tradition too – especially those who don’t have much money or have mobility restrictions – those people who need it most … I get emotional just thinking about it.”
The idea grew from there, eventually including a food drive in partnership with local radio station KELA/KMNT. “Now it gets bigger and bigger every year,” Haase said.
Haase enhances the holiday spirit on select Tours by playing Christmas Songs on her accordion. “I start us off and we sing all the classics like Silent Night and Jingle Bells,” she said. One year, her sister even accompanied her in an accordion duo. This has become an especially beloved part of this already cherished annual tradition.
Haase was born into a musical family where nearly everyone played an instrument. However, as the youngest of seven children, by the time she was old enough for lessons, the family music teacher had developed cataracts and could no longer see. This didn’t stop the tenacious young Haase, however. “I’d pack my accordion over there anyway,” she recalled. “I’d have her play and I’d try to follow along. In that way, I just taught myself.”
Haase was a go-getter from an early age. She was a competitive roller skater, earning the title of Washington State Champion in Freestyle and Dance. She was also an enthusiastic baseball player, starting at the age of 12 on an unkempt field designated for the girls’ league. “The boys’ field was nice and groomed but the girls had to go rake the rocks themselves,” she recalled with a laugh.
From these humble beginnings, Haase went on to play teams from Centralia to Packwood on increasingly improved fields. She played on girls’ teams, “Mork and Mindy” co-ed teams, and adult women’s fastpitch and slow-pitch teams. Her love affair with the sport lasted over 30 years.
A Career on the Road
Haase always wanted to drive a bus. “I didn’t ride the bus a lot when I was younger, so I was always intrigued by the bus driver,” she recalled. “I wanted to drive something big and I like people, so what better place to work?”
She got an early start, driving the family car from the age of eight or nine. “We used to drive on the beach and up into the woods because you could do that kind of stuff back in the day,” she recalled with a laugh. “They’d let us take the cars and go drive. We did a lot of that back then.”
Haase likes driving for the social component and because it keeps her outside, enjoying the scenery. When she’s not at work, she can often be found up in the woods camping, fishing, hiking, or picking chanterelles and wild blackberries. “I just like to be outside,” she said. “I grew up on Plumbers Lake and I used to own that place. My five brothers, my sister and I had trails and forts everywhere. I was always climbing trees and doing all the stuff they did.”
Haase shared her love of the outdoors with her son and two stepchildren on frequent camping trips and other outdoor excursions. She recalled one family trip planned for Yellowstone, which was almost canceled when her husband had to work at the last minute. Not to be deterred, Haase took the two most willing kids and hit the road. “I said, ‘Want to go to Yellowstone or Alaska?’” she recalled with a grin.
They voted Alaska.
What ensued was a week of impromptu adventure involving an impassable (recently accidentally demolished) bridge, moose in the road, a boulder rolling in front of the car and a lost muffler. It was a highly memorable family vacation. “At one point, we were on a trail ride when my son’s saddle broke and he rolled under his horse,” Haase said with a smile.
Passion and Purpose
Haase’s history with Twin Transit runs deep. In fact, she and her husband, Tom, got married on the Twin Transit trolley. “A Twin Transit mechanic drove it out to the Tenino Quarry and another Twin Transit bus driver married us,” Haase recalled. “The trolley was beautiful back then too. They had refurbished it, redone all the woodwork, and painted it red.”
Needless to say, it was a remarkable event, highlighting Hasse’s connection to her family and many friends – both at Twin Transit and in the community at large.
Haase has served with the Ocean Shores Aerie Eagles, the Tenino Eagles, Auxilary of the VFW in Tenino and the Auxiliary of the American Legion in Centralia. She hosts bingo every month and helps serve hamburgers at the VFW in Tenino for the Post 69 American Legion on Friday nights. She even staged her own VFW Tribute to Veterans variety show to help raise money for cancer aid and research and the Make a Wish Foundation. “I do a lot because I have so much time on my hands,” she said with an ironic laugh.
Haase’s 30-year career exemplifies what it means to be a servant leader. Her kindness, sense of humor and adventurous spirit set her apart, as does her dedication to her friends, family and community. The entire Twin Transit team is grateful for Haase and her dedicated friendship and service, and we’re looking forward to even more fun yet to come.