Marc Loebe is quick to deflect praise for his work as a START driver who’s at the wheel of the Americans with Disabilities Act bus, pointing out there are others in the community who are also freely giving of their time and not getting paid for it.
“It’s a job, so I try to do it well,” Loebe said. “I’m just working, you know? It’s not like I’m volunteering or something; I’m just working. There’s a lot of folks who do a lot of really good things in a volunteer situation.”
But for the past few years Loebe’s work for START has helped him, just as he helps those he serves through his job, where he schedules pickups and drop-offs for people with disabilities, often scheduling the rides as much as two weeks out.
When Loebe first began driving START’s ADA bus, he said, he had no idea that he would get so much out of it.
“Most of the time it’s one on one,” Loebe said of his interactions with his customers. “Sometimes I’ll have a couple of people or up to four people in here, but they actually, most of them will become your friends, and sometimes you help them out in different ways versus just giving them rides.
“Some of them become good friends. But the flip side of that coin is sometimes some of the people I drive around regularly and get to know, they don’t have good health. So, you know, sometimes they pass away and that can be really sad.”
Loebe, who will be 69 in November and has been driving for START since 2012, said he plans to continue working there until he retires, though he chuckles when asked when that time might come.
“I’d retire as soon as I can,” he said, “but it doesn’t look like that’s going to be in the near future.”
Loebe commutes to work from Etna, in Lincoln County, where he lives with his wife. Though his body might be slowing down a little bit, Loebe said he doesn’t let that hinder his ability to get out on the slopes to snowboard when he can. He’s a former skier who has transitioned to snowboarding in more recent years, particularly after owning a snowboard shop in Jackson for about 15 years called The Boardroom. In the warmer months he enjoys fly fishing.
“I really like to snowboard, and I like to throw flies,” Loebe said.
Just as he’s seen friends come and go with the people to whom he regularly gives rides, the longtime driver laments the friendships that come in and out of his life through his work when he sees his co-workers leave.
“There can be a decent amount of turnover there, and when they leave, just like a lot of work friends, when you’re not working with them anymore you don’t usually see them much anymore,” he said. “I’ve made some really good friends there [at START] and I just don’t see them anymore. So that can be sad, too.”
Regardless, Loebe says he’s going to keep on going about his work. And he’ll keep doing it humbly.
“It’s not like I’m out there saving the world; I’m just doing a job,” he said. “I don’t really like this being about me, because I don’t want people out there thinking I’m bragging on myself. I’m just a guy out here doing my job.”