Donna Channell, a longtime driver for Helena Intermediate School in Alabama (pictured front left), is recognized for her more than 30 years of service. She is shown here with her family. - Photo courtesy Helena Intermediate School

Donna Channell, a longtime driver for Helena Intermediate School in Alabama (pictured front left), is recognized for her more than 30 years of service. She is shown here with her family.

Photo courtesy Helena Intermediate School

Shelby County, Ala.-based Helena Intermediate School honored one of its longtime school bus drivers who recently retired with a drive-by parade celebration.

Donna Channell, who had been driving a school bus for more than 30 years, completed her last bus route on Sept. 30, a day after the drive-by parade, according to a post on Helena Intermediate School’s Facebook page.

The parade was reportedly a surprise for Channell, who was “shocked” at seeing the procession of well-wishers, according to the Shelby County Reporter.

Channell told the newspaper that she started driving a school bus after a friend introduced her to the position. She added that working with her colleagues and students was the best part of the job, as students “can be very challenging, but also very rewarding.”

Kara Burleson, the assistant principal for Helena Intermediate School, told School Bus Fleet that Channell “has been an integral part of our transportation team” and Channell “loved her students and was constantly striving to ensure their safety.”

Despite it being “very difficult to leave,” Channell told the Shelby County Reporter that she is grateful “to have so many people in my life that have both challenged me and benefitted me.”

View more photos of the drive-by parade, posted on Helena Intermediate School's Facebook page, below.

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