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March 29, 2012  |   Comments (5)   |   Post a comment

Blue Bird honors 35-year school bus driver


Sague Bus Service driver and trainer Earl Rineer (left) receives a plaque recognizing his dedication to public service and transporting students from Blue Bird President and CEO Phil Horlock.
<p>Sague Bus Service driver and trainer Earl Rineer (left) receives a plaque recognizing his dedication to public service and transporting students from Blue Bird President and CEO Phil Horlock.</p>

FORT VALLEY, Ga. — Blue Bird Corp. honored veteran bus driver Earl Rineer for his dedication to transporting schoolchildren in the manufacturer's buses over the last 35 years.

Rineer, who is 89 years old, visited Blue Bird’s headquarters for this first time this week to be recognized. He received a plaque, which was presented to him by President and CEO Phil Horlock.

Checking out his eight compressed natural gas-powered school buses under construction at the plant was Rineer’s son, Jerry Rineer, who is transportation supervisor for Lower Merion School District in Ardmore, Pa.

“My father has a rich past in public service and transportation. He was a volunteer fire truck driver for 15 years and has an abundant past in providing transportation for local ministries and organizations,” Rineer said. “Thirty-five years ago, I was in a pinch and quickly needed a school bus driver — luckily, my father stepped in. He has been transporting the children of Pennsylvania ever since.”

Horlock said Blue Bird was honored to recognize Rineer for his commitment to public service and his dedication to transporting students.

“It is not too often that you have the wonderful opportunity to recognize someone with such an extensive past solely dedicated to the safe transportation of schoolchildren and the wider community,” Horlock added.

For his part, Rineer, who works for Sague Bus Service, said that he was pleased to be recognized and that he looks forward to serving children and people from “every walk of life.” He also said that as a school bus driver and trainer, he is able to touch people’s lives on an individual level.

When asked about his fondest memory as a school bus driver, Rineer said, “I most enjoy when a former rider remembers me as their school bus driver from 30 years ago — that brings me the greatest happiness.”

Rineer also shows no signs of slowing down. When asked if retirement is in his future, he said, “I don’t know the word retirement,” and added that he would continue training drivers and transporting students as long as he passes the medical requirements.

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I am so blessed to have such a wonderful Father. On the trip down to Georgia, Dad wore his World War Two Veterans hat, he was approached by pilots, airport staff and strangers thanking him for his service to our Country, it was a very moving experience. Special thanks to the folks from Brightbill Body Work and the wonderful staff at Blue Bird. For years Dad was a tool and die maker so he really appreciated the factory workers skills.

Jerry Rineer    |    May 04, 2012 10:30 AM

I had the pleasure of working with Earl for many years. He was the instructor that taught class for my original license many years back at the former Romano's School Bus Service. I wish Earl the best and hope that he continue's to enjoy good health and be allowed to drive for as long as he is able.

Pete Matticola    |    Apr 11, 2012 06:54 AM

Congratulations to both Earl Rineer and Blue Bird's Phil Horlock for their excellent and longstanding commitment to pupil transportation. My own experience as a pupil transportation attorney for nearly 25 years has shown me that people in this industry who commit themselves over long periods to public service are indeed very good and special people. A very dear friend of my family, the late William J. Henderson, was Assistant Principal of Lower Merion High School for many years. So, I know the school district and surrounding local area in which the Rineer family pursues their dedicated work. Lower Merion is a great local school district.

Michael Coneys    |    Apr 04, 2012 10:26 AM

My grandpas been driving school bus for 52 years. He is currently driving a BB TC2000. Where's his award?

Mitch    |    Apr 03, 2012 07:19 PM

I know of a school bus driver who is now 73 years of age and started driving buses in Boone County, IN for more than 53 years. He has driven about every manufactured body and chasis that has come and gone. I would love for you to do a story on him. He is a walking history book on school transportation - contract and corporation,

Bob Rohrman    |    Apr 03, 2012 06:35 PM

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