BY KAREN CAMPBELL
Weakley County Schools Communications Director
DRESDEN (June 7) – Weakley County Mayor Jake Bynum Tuesday morning welcomed city mayors, school administration, and family and friends of the honored guests to a steps-of-the-Courthouse celebration of Weakley County Schools bus drivers with perfect attendance. After, Director of Schools Randy Frazier acknowledged each of the drivers who had faithfully picked up and dropped off students at the county’s 10 locations for the entirety of the 2021-22 school year.
As Frazier spoke, Board Chair Steve Vantrease and Bynum presented the drivers with a metal wall hanging and key holder crafted by Westview High School’s FFA. Mayor Jeff Washburn of Dresden, Mayor Charles Anderson of Gleason, Mayor Cindy McAdams of Greenfield, Mayor Randy Brundige of Martin and Mayor Ali Stalter of Sharon then distributed keys painted to match their school’s colors to complete the “keys to the county” gift. Camiel Taylor of Taylor Automotive followed with an additional donation of an oil change for each driver.
“We are here to acknowledge the commitment of our school bus drivers. We want to celebrate and honor those committed employees ensuring that our students are safely transported to and from school. These men and women serve as drivers and so much more. They are our children’s protectors, confidantes, cheerleaders, and friends,” said Frazier.
Frazier then pointed to Stanley Tims of Cottage Grove who stood with the drivers with phone in hand. Frazier noted that, employed as a fulltime mechanic, Tims often had to fill in for drivers who were out sick and so it was only appropriate that he was “filling in” once again. The phone held a video call to Transportation Director Ron Byington who is attending the state meeting with fellow transportation directors in east Tennessee. Frazier said that Byington had already reported that a survey of school districts showed 84 percent facing a driver shortage, a reality similarly experienced across the U.S. last year.
Drivers recognized during the morning ceremony were Donnie Gearin of Gleason, Denise Hayes of Martin, Lisa Huestis of Palmersville, Terry McKinney of Gleason, Ronald Plunk of Martin, and John Stewart of Martin. As Frazier introduced Glenda Reagan of Dresden, he noted that her 42 years of service gives her the greatest longevity of all the County’s 40-plus drivers. The crowd then broke into spontaneous applause. Byington was also recognized for his perfect attendance.
Drivers with perfect attendance who were not able to attend were: Don Allen of Greenfield, David Hugueley of Gleason, Michelle Rook of Gleason, and Cory VanCleave of Martin.
To conclude the event, Frazier then kicked off the school system’s new Drive for Drivers, a campaign to increase the number of part-time and full-time drivers. He encouraged the crowd to join the effort in recruiting and called their attention to the bus positioned across from the Courthouse carrying a large banner with the phone number 731-364-2578 to call if interested in knowing more.