Newton - - After 54 years on the job, a Baker County school bus driver is retiring. Harden Allen's seen a lot in his five and a half decades behind the wheel. Now he's getting ready to park his bus for the last time.
Harden Allen wakes up each day before dawn and gets on his school bus.
"I wake up. I don't need nothing to wake me up. I did it so long I know when to get up. At 5:30 I'm up."
He's done it for 54 years. At Baker County Elementary/Middle School, his fellow bus drivers, school board members, and friends and family gathered to show their appreciation.
"I moved right down the block from him and he drove my daughter to school," says Jerry Samuel.
Now Jerry Samuel knows what it's like to work with Allen as a fellow bus driver. At a cheerful ceremony today, the crowd reflected on Allen's humourous personality and commitment.
His daughter sang a song for him. The words say "let the work I've done speak for me."
Allen says driving the bus isn't rocket science. It just takes a little discipline.
"You've got to assign them a seat and if theyre out their seat 3 times then you turn them in. We got forms now, it used to be you could grab them by the neck and put them in the seat, but now you can't do that."
And if the children ever act up - - it helps to be in a small town.
"I know everybody. I know the parents. I know grandma."
His colleagues say they've learned a little something from the 78 year old....
"Were gonna miss him daily because we dont have people that dedicated like that now, he is. he's a wonderful person," says Samuel.
...because the work he's done speaks for itself.
Even though Harden Allen is retiring as a school bus driver, he will still stay busy. He is a Baker County Commissioner and he's active at his church.