Moloka’i driver Barbara Sentel named MEO Driver of the Year

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March 6, 2024

Moloka‘i bus driver Barbara Sentel, who has been shuttling Moloka‘i residents to shopping, doctor visits and other destinations for the last 34 years, was named Maui Economic Opportunity Driver of the Year for 2023.

Well-known on the island, MEO Moloka‘i’s longest employed staffer (and second longest in the entire agency) also has been accident and incident free for the last 5 straight years. Barbara is known for keeping her vehicle meticulously clean, her professionalism, being appreciated by the community and her strong relationships with long-time riders.

The announcement was made during the annual MEO Annual Employee Awards Recognition on Wednesday, Feb. 28, in MEO’s Classroom 1. Barbara, who appeared via livestream from Moloka‘i, received a plaque and cash award from Atlas Insurance. Carol Davis, Atlas Executive Vice President, joined the gathering in Wailuku.

About 30 MEO drivers were recognized for their cumulative accident- and incident-free driving records and received bonuses in the agency’s annual Cash for No Crash program. MEO has about 50 drivers on the road on Maui, including Hana, Moloka‘i and Lana‘i.

MEO runs the Maui Bus ADA paratransit service through a contract with Maui County and operates Human Services transportation, providing rides for seniors, persons with disabilities, youth and residents in rural areas throughout Maui County, with a county grant.

At the Awards Recognition, MEO staff were honored for their years of service with Transportation’s Mary Kaiwi recognized as the longest employed worker at 35 years.

Brenda Fernandez, Transportation Safety and Training Manager, was announced as MEO Employee of the Month for January. Her nominator, Iris Malaikini, said Brenda has a “natural ability to connect with others” and is “always filled with words of encouragement, empathy and respect.”

“You never feel disheartened,” Iris said.

For being named Employee of the Month, Brenda received an extra vacation day and a $150 check. Iris earned $50 for the nomination.

MEO has openings for drivers, paying as much as $25.79 per hour for applicants with Commercial Driver’s Licenses. There are positions for non-CDL drivers with MEO offering training.

For an application and more information about driver and other openings at MEO, go to and click on the “Careers” tab and “Current Career Opportunities.” Interested applicants also can call (808) 243-4310 or email [email protected].

*About Maui Economic Opportunity*
Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc., is a nonprofit agency that’s part of the national Community Action Partnership network, whose goal is to help low income individuals and families and disenfranchised people help themselves and transform their lives. Chartered in 1965, MEO offers more than 40 programs that assist low income people, kupuna, youths, persons with disabilities, immigrants and other disenfranchised individuals countywide. MEO runs the Human Services specialized transportation program for health and dialysis appointments, after-school and youth sports activities and more; and the Maui Bus paratransit system; Head Start preschools and Kahi Kamali‘i Infant Care Center; as well as programs that offer kupuna socialization and information; rent, mortgage and utility assistance; Spanish interpretation and translation; entrepreneurial and financial classes and support, including microloans; inmate reintegration into the community after release; youth drinking, drug, smoking, bullying and suicide prevention; and employment training and placement. For more information about the entire array of programs, visit or call (808) 249-2990.

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