It seems that being an Ohio County Schools bus driver is a family tradition.
Ohio County Schools Director of Operations David Crumm noted that a number of the school system’s transportation employees have family connections. He said nearly 20 current bus drivers have family members who are current bus drivers, retired bus drivers or are training to become bus drivers.
“They enjoy doing what they do, and it’s a great place to work,” Crumm said. “They enjoy it enough that they would recommend it to family members. We have great people.”
Nathaniel Peace joined Ohio County Schools as a substitute bus driver in 2012, and he became a full-time driver in 2014. Peace said his younger brother, Ben, had considered becoming a bus driver and decided to do so after his elder sibling became a driver.
“He likes the job a lot, and I do too,” Nathaniel Peace said. “He knew I liked the job, and we like the schedule and flexibility. We enjoy it. My wife (Elaine Peace) is a teacher at Bridge Street (Middle School), and we have similar schedules. It all works out well.”
Scott and Charlene Gordon are Ohio County Schools bus drivers, and their son, Jeremiah, is training to become a bus driver. Scott formerly served as a mechanic in the transportation department, and he encouraged his wife to become a bus driver.
“I enjoy the kids and the driving, and no two days are the same,” Charlene Gordon said. “It can be a challenge, but I do I like it.”
“I think they like working with family,” Scott Gordon said. “It makes it simple. We do most things together, and we have just one vehicle going to work instead of two… He (Jeremiah Gordon) heard us talk about it, and he wanted to try it.”
Doug Fugate is a current OCS bus driver, following in the footsteps of his mother, Kitty Fugate, who retired after serving as a bus driver for the school system for more than 30 years. His father, Kermit Fugate, served as an OCS mechanic for 15 years. Now, Doug’s daughter, Audrey Fugate, is training to become a bus driver.
“It’s an important job, and the training involved is incredible,” he said. “My mother really enjoyed it. She didn’t want to quit, but age caught up with her. I enjoy it more than I thought I would. I have my mother’s route that she had for 25 years. It wasn’t planned. It just worked out that way.”
The transportation department has a number of other family connections. Brothers Ray and Thomas Schuetz are Ohio County Schools bus drivers. Mike Auten and his daughter, Renee Ellis, and her cousin, Jerry Auten, serve as OCS bus drivers. Amy Coen-Mercer and her nephew, Logan Pickens, are bus drivers. OCS bus driver Liz Coss’s mother-in-law is retired driver Shirley Coss. Mike Bower and Roy Bower are cousins who serve as drivers. Dana Ullum is a current driver, and his brother, Derek, is a retired mechanic and sub driver.