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.