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Pulaski County bus driver signs on for his 67th year

Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 6:37 PM EDT
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PULASKI COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Pulaski County Public Schools recently recognized its bus driver of the year.

His name is Dalford Phillips. His coworkers call him special, because he has transported kids to and from school for more than 60 years.

Some say he’s the longest tenured bus driver in Virginia.

“I started when I was a sophomore in high school. Supervisor of transportation took me to get my bus driver’s just a few days past my 16th birthday,” said Phillips, a Pulaski County Public School bus driver.

A few weeks ago, he signed on for his 67th year of driving for the school district.

“I drive five days a week. I usually finish up about 8:45 in the morning, afternoon I leave at 2:30 p.m. And we’re tied up at the high school, that traffic and the Volvo traffic, so it’s about 5:00p before I get home,” said Phillips.

He says the first bus he drove was a 1947 Dodge and his pay rate was only $2 a day.

“Now when I started driving, you’d drive, headed to school, there might be a foot of snow on the ground, you’d put chains on it and go. Now, the only time you’d have to put chains on is if you get caught at school and it becomes snow,” said Phillips.

All while Phillips drove he was chief of the Draper Volunteer Fire Department for 27 years and farmed his own land.

“My dad used to tell me years ago you need to quit driving the bus or quit farming,” said Phillips.

He remembers driving multiple generations—seeing them and their children grow up.

“A lot of times people come up to me. I don’t recognize them, and they say you drove me on the school bus. You know a lot about my way of preparing to send them in years --after they grow up, they don’t look the same.”

But the reason he keeps driving is because of two things.

“Being around the kids is one of the main things and, I guess, the other reason is just, I been driving since I was 16 years old, so it’s just a habit,” said Phillips.

Phillips says he’ll continue to drive as long as the schools and his old bones will let him.

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