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story.lead_photo.caption Glenna Vernon poses outside the Jefferson City Transit Office on E. Miller Street where she serves as an administrative assistant. Vernon was named Jefferson City's Outstanding Employee Service Award for June. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

After working for the city for more than 10 years, Glenna Vernon, administrative assistant at the Jefferson City Transit Department, received the city's Outstanding Employee Service Award for June.

Vernon started working at the Transit Department in December 2013 after the previous administrative assistant resigned, taking over the position in spring 2014.

Vernon was not planning to work for that department, though. She had worked in Teacher Certification-Conduct and Investigations — a section in the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that conducts criminal backgrounds on teachers and substitute teachers across the state — for 10 years, and she decided to change career paths suddenly.

"I just thought there was something different that I needed to be doing, that I needed something more," she said. "Something was just telling me to leave, and that was the scariest thing I ever did was leave a comfortable job that I had been in for 10 years and knew what I was doing to venture out into a whole new beginning."

She started working as an administrative and evidence technician at the Jefferson City Police Department in 2006 and later worked in the city's Public Works and Planning Department as an administrative technician in 2011 before being transferred to the Transit Department.

"It didn't take me long to fall in love with all the riders," Vernon said, waving her hand toward the bus stop outside the Transit Department office. "I look out there and those people depend on our buses going around and around 17 times a day, and it's just a very heartwarming position to watch how important transit is in this city."

Vernon's job is not just sitting behind a desk. Her the duties can vary depending on what is happening that day; some days she might help find a bus driver if one calls in sick, while other days she might dispatch buses. She said the department staff has to work together to make sure the buses are operational.

"The wheels of the bus go round and round, and if they're not going round and round, it's not a good day at transit," she said. "These people need us to get them to where they need to be, to get to their jobs, to see their families or get their grocery shopping done."

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