Riding with Jim
With May marking the end of the calendar school year, we asked Jim Lawrence to tell us about his time serving his community as a school bus driver and maintenance man for the Clay Community School Corporation. However, after talking with Jim for a while he has served more than just his local community.
While Jim was still attending Brazil High School in the early 40’s, he received a letter in the mail that a lot of young men his age received. Uncle Sam had called him to fulfill his civic duty, and fight the powers of tyranny in the U.S. Army. Jim accepted the call to serve in WWII, and served the Army as a military policeman. During his early days in the military while he was still stateside, Jim went on a short furlough. During that time, his division was deployed to Europe. When Jim got back, he was sent off to San Diego to meet up with his new division of MP’s. Soon after he was deployed to the South Pacific. Jim served the U.S. Army from 1943-1946 before being discharged.
When Jim got back from his stent in the military, he got a job working in Terre Haute for Commercial Solvents. He worked there for several years before they went out of business. Jim then went on to work construction, and while he was doing that Jim was approached by the Transportation Director for Clay Community Schools. The Transportation Director asked Jim if he wanted to drive a school bus. He thought it would be the perfect job for Jim, since he was busy during the summers with construction and had the time during the winters. However, Jim had never driven a school bus, and he didn’t know how comfortable he would be driving one. The Transportation Director told Jim to take one of the buses and drive it around town for the day. Jim did, and he drove a school bus for the next 37 years.
Not only would Jim drive a bus for Staunton Schools, he was also hired on as a maintenance man for Clay Community Schools. Jim would eventually move on to drive for the Brazil Schools when the school districts started to consolidate. Staunton was sorry to lose Jim as their bus driver. When he left, he received a plaque from the school and the band for his service. Jim also received an award from Governor Frank O’Bannon for his safety record as a bus driver.
Jim always enjoyed driving a bus for the Clay Community Schools. Whether it was driving kids to and from school or driving athletes to a local game, Jim just liked being around the teachers, parents, and students. Jim enjoyed it so much that after he retired from the maintenance department of 25 years, he continued to drive a bus for another 12 years.
Jim has been a resident at Cloverleaf for the last year. He has been at three different nursing facilities, but Cloverleaf is the only place he would recommend. He thinks Cloverleaf is a good place where everyone is nice and friendly.