As the start of the school year nears, teachers and administrators in the Batesville schools are busy preparing buildings and classrooms for students.
Another group that is also getting ready is school bus drivers. Some have just been driving for a few years, while others have transported students for decades.
Eddie Obermeyer is entering his 40th year in the profession. The Oldenburg resident says he got his start when friend Elmer Raver contacted him in the early ‘70s. “He had one year left on his contract and asked if I would be interested in being a bus driver and taking over for him .... That way I could see if I liked it or not,” and decide if it was something he wanted to continue, which he did.
“I enjoy the kids. Some of them are so funny and cute .... I am on my third generation of kids on my route, and I kind of feel like they’re part of my family.”
Dave Westerfeld, Batesville, recalls how he began about 25 years ago. “I was kind of in a job situation I didn’t like, and (transportation director) Bob Fitzpatrick offered me a job.
“I like being around kids. I drove a regular route for 12-15 years, and now I drive a special needs bus. Those kids are really neat. I just love working with them.”
Norman Gutzwiller is beginning his 25th year. “I worked at Hillenbrand’s for years, and my wife had already been driving a route at East Central,” so he decided being a bus driver was something he wanted to do.
The Batesville resident also takes St. Louis School students on their field trips and to sporting events. “I really enjoy taking the field trips .... I’ve been hauling kids since they were in kindergarten, and now I’m hauling their kids.”