By Hayley M. Cook
WILLIAMSON - Employees of the Transportation Department of the Mingo County Board of Education were recognized at the most recent school board meeting held Tuesday.
Bus drivers, substitute drivers, mechanics, Transportation Secretary Marcella Cooper, and Transportation Director Joe Howard were among those recognized, in honor of their many collective years of service.
Board President William Duty thanked the transportation department for their hard work, saying, “I always count it a blessing and I’m thankful because we’ve never had a serious accident. Thank you for driving the buses carefully. Thank you.”
Superintendent Randy Keathley also expressed his gratitude to transportation workers, saying, “There is not enough recognition to each of you for the work you do. You literally have the lives of our children in your hands every day. Not enough can be said for the work you do to ensure our children are transported to and from school safely.”
Keathley continued his praise, adding, “You are generally the first person our children see in the morning and the last person they see in the evening. On behalf of Mingo County Schools, we thank you immensely.”
More than 60 workers from the Transportation Department received recognition, with a certificate presented by Keathley to each worker.
When asked for comment, Howard said, “It is a team effort, and it takes everybody. Thank you so much.”
To close out the presentation, Duty had all of the female bus drivers stand for special recognition and a round of applause. He said that there was only one female Mingo County bus driver in the 1950s, and he was pleased to see that nearly half of the group was now comprised of female transportation workers.
Howard shared that, in one year, over one million collective miles were traveled to transport children for Mingo County.
“You’ve had no flats, never run out of gas,” Duty said, adding jokingly, “Well, if you did, don’t tell us.”
Among other business, five field trips were approved by the board, the 2014-2015 school calendar was reviewed, and a review was conducted of the monthly financial report ending April 30, 2014.
Regarding the field trips, Duty said, “We pray the kids will have a great learning experience, get there safe, come home safe, and have a great time.”
Worth noting was Stephen “Cheetah” Marcum’s inquiry about the Tug Valley High School football field. Marcum asked that the matter be studied further, considering that Tug Valley has needed a new athletic complex for a couple of years, and has thus requested assistance with the matter on more than one occasion.
“I won’t be here, so the challenge is up to you,” Marcum said. He then addressed Duty and Vice President James David Farley specifically, saying, “You were a treasurer for 5-10 years, and you need to be looking into it.”
Duty responded to this challenge, saying that the board was indeed working on it and “if I’m still here and kicking, and if my mind is still working” that the issue would be resolved.