HANNIBAL, N.Y. — Alex Familo has a long bus ride to school, but he said that he enjoys it and even learns new things because of the efforts of his driver, Larry Eason.
Familo, who has autism, nominated Eason for a Friends of Autism award, which was presented to the Hannibal Central School District bus driver at a recent reception.
“Larry is my bus driver and he is my friend,” Familo wrote in his nomination letter, which he read from at the award reception. “He knows that things can get hard for me. He is always patient and takes great care of me.”
Eason has been driving for Hannibal Central School District for 27 years. Two years ago, he switched from his longtime route to driving a special-needs bus.
Hannibal Transportation Supervisor Jeff Howland said that Eason is an exemplary bus driver who goes out of his way to connect with his students.
“Larry is very dedicated to the safety of the students he transports and showing interest in their lives so they know that they are important,” Howland said. “He has truly been a blessing to the children he has transported and to us here in the transportation department.”
Familo noted in his nomination letter that riding in Eason’s bus is an educational experience. The driver teaches him songs and interesting facts.
“We have a long drive, so we do a lot of singing. He taught me ‘Old Man River,’ and we use a very deep voice,” Familo wrote. “Larry taught me all about the high tension wires that we drive by. Some are for cable. Some are for telephone. Some are for electricity. You don’t want to touch them because they are dangerous and they are hot.”
The Friends of Autism award was given to Eason by the Oswego County Autism Task Force. Howland said that Eason “is very humbled and honored.”