LEWISTOWN, Ohio — Roger Timmons was excited to take his first ride on a school bus on Monday — at 90 years old.
The Navy veteran, who served in the South Pacific during World War II, never got to ride a yellow bus as a kid because he lived right by his school. His daughter, Kelly Shaw, knew that riding a school bus was a lifelong dream for her father.
“He always says he never got the opportunity to ride a bus,” she said. “We thought it would be a treat for him.”
Shaw contacted Indian Lake Schools’ transportation director, Pat Smith, who agreed to furnish her father’s first school bus ride.
“Anybody that served our country the way he did deserves the upmost respect,” Smith said. “Frankly, if a guy wants to do something like this that he's never done in his life and I have the means to provide it so easily, why wouldn't I? It really is a privilege to be able to do it."
So on Monday, Indian Lake Schools bus #31, driven by Elizabeth Grube, picked up Timmons to take him on his long-awaited ride.
“Do I get to ride with the kids?” he asked as the bus and a police escort pulled in front of his home.
Several members of the Indian Lake Elementary School student council and other Indian Lake bus drivers accompanied Timmons on his historic trip. Many students and families who live along Grube's route stood outside waving flags and signs to thank Timmons for his service to the country.
Grube made sure that Timmons got to experience traditional school bus fun, like going over bumps and honking while driving through a covered bridge, before bringing him back home.
Timmons said he is glad he can scratch this off his bucket list.
"It was wonderful, I enjoyed it!" he said, adding that he hopes to ride again sometime — maybe when he turns 100.
To watch a video of Timmons’ school bus experience, go here.