Wanda Childers is this year's top school bus driver in the state. We hope she returns to that job, to which she has devoted much of her adult life, in the near future.
Childers, 52, recently was named South Carolina School Bus Driver of the Year by the S.C. Association for Pupil Transportation. As she, herself, notes, the award couldn't have come at a better time.
Childers is recovering from uterine cancer and can't return to the job of carrying children to and from school until she finishes with chemotherapy in December. She said the award "made me feel so good at a time when I was beginning to wonder what I'd done wrong."
But from the way coworkers and others describe her, she has been doing many things right for two decades -- rising at 4:30 a.m. to make her first morning stops and often working two more shifts in the afternoon. It's a job she loves, and the children she has transported over the years have returned that love.
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Childers has a special bond with the children. She now is driving the children of the children she welcomed aboard 20 years ago.
Sometimes, school bus drivers are invisible, faceless individuals who don't interact much with the children or put much of themselves into the job. But it is apparent that, for Childers, driving these youngsters to school each day isn't just a job, it's a calling.
It also is apparent why she was chosen Bus Driver of the Year. We are grateful for her devotion and wish her the best in beating this disease and returning to work.