Local school bus drivers answer call to assist Hurricane Matthew evacuees

People needed help, so a group of Lexington School District Two bus drivers answered the call.

With Hurricane Matthew evacuations initiated in Charleston, the Lexington Two bus drivers volunteered to transport evacuees from Charleston to Greenville or anywhere else they needed to go to find safety. Cliff Jones, Lexington Two special needs supervisor, said the bus drivers were in a holding pattern Wednesday afternoon.

“We’re waiting for the shelters in Charleston to fill up,” Jones said. “And there are buses here from Greenville to transport people, too.”

M. Mixon Da Silva, A. Kohn, M. Rumph, W. Morgan, B. Medlin, R. McMcoy, R. Arnold, K. Palmer. Middle Row: C. Garvin, T. Bass, S. Taylor, B. Oliver, J. Day, V. Cunningham. Front Row: P. Robinson, T. Carrigan, M. Reeder, D. Wilson, V. McIver, C. Jones.

M. Mixon Da Silva (from left), A. Kohn, M. Rumph, W. Morgan, B. Medlin, R. McMcoy, R. Arnold, K. Palmer. Middle Row: C. Garvin, T. Bass, S. Taylor, B. Oliver, J. Day, V. Cunningham. Front Row: P. Robinson, T. Carrigan, M. Reeder, D. Wilson, V. McIver, C. Jones

Marshelle Rumph, a 16-year Lexington Two bus driver, said the day began at 6 a.m. when she reported to the Lexington Two bus complex in West Columbia. The buses left there about 9:30 a.m. and arrived in Charleston around noon.

“Our people need help, so I’m going to help,” said Rumph. She is also a registered nurse and said it has always been a part of her instinct to try to assist in a crisis.

Debbie Wilson, who has been a Lexington Two bus driver for three years, said she wanted to do everything she could to get people out of harm’s way.

“I want to get them to a safe place,” Wilson said. “I would want someone to do the same for me.”

Wilson also said it brings her a sense of happiness to help out. Vanessa McIver, who has been driving a bus in Lexington Two for 11 years, is originally from the coastal county of Beaufort.

“I know how hard it can hit,” she said.

While it is a serious matter, the bus drivers are keeping loose.

“It’s wonderful to be around everybody. We’re cutting up and making the best of it,” said Wilson.

Rumph said she has even seen some former colleagues.

“I’ve seen some old friends I have not seen in a while, who used to drive buses in Lexington Two. They work in other districts now,” said Rumph. “It’s like a family reunion.”

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