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Local school transportation director dies following snow shoveling-related heart attack

A member of the Portage Public Schools community died Sunday, the school announced via a statement, after suffering from a fatal heart attack while shoveling snow. (Dan Powers/The Post-Crescent via AP)

A member of the Portage Public Schools community died Sunday, the school announced via a statement, after suffering from a fatal heart attack while shoveling snow.

Portage Public School's superintendent Mark Bielang released a statement Sunday afternoon to parents announcing the passing of transportation director Mike Westbrook.

"We do know that Mike’s passing will be felt around the district, and we will need time to process and mourn this loss," Bielang's statement read. "Mike’s staff and bus drivers have been told, and we would ask to give them your understanding and support during this difficult time."

According to Westbrook's LinkedIn page, he has been a member of Portage Public Schools since October of 2002, serving as both a transportation supervisor and manager. Bielang credited Westbrook as being "masterful at the logistics of creating bus routes," and commended his care in being sure students with special needs or circumstances were cared for so they arrived to school safely and comfortably.

Westbrook also assisted in logistics behind transporting kids across the county for Education for Employment and Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center programs.

"Mike will be greatly missed," Bielang's statement said. "He was an outstanding individual who cared for his staff, drivers and was dedicated to the more than 5,000 students who ride the bus everyday."

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