O’Dell Thomas sat down to an appreciation breakfast Friday for the second time in his 18-year career as a bus driver.
R.E.A.C.H. Academic Mentoring, Life Skills & Sport Outreach held the free event for more than 50 bus drivers, crossing guards, maintenance workers, lunchroom staffers and custodians at Cross Creek High School on Friday morning.
“It’s a nice thing they’re doing,” Thomas said. “I remember going to a breakfast like this maybe one time before.”
Cross Creek Principal Jason Moore flipped pancakes, and volunteers, including guidance counselor Ethoin Rowe, served coffee and sausage.
“We could not do what we do without them getting our kids here safely,” Rowe said. “This time of year, we want to be able to say thank you. Sometimes it’s the little things that touch people’s hearts.”
R.E.A.C.H. was founded in 2007 by Joseph and Sharon Hall. It stands for Reaching Every Answer Christ Has, and it offers academic tutoring and life skills programing off-campus and in schools.
“We’d like to do this in all the schools,” Joseph Hall said.
They feel called to thank those whose jobs are particularly thankless, Sharon Hall said.
“We’re reaching out to people who don’t get the recognition they deserve,” she said.
Bus drivers travel busy highways to pick up students, often without the assistance of adult bus monitors or aides. Crossing guards are on their feet, outside, regardless of weather, “just to make sure our children who walk to school are safe crossing the busy streets,” Joseph Hall said.
Tammy Bush, a bus driver for 21 years, said she appreciated the gesture.
“It’s a good thing,” she said. “I think we need more support.”