HAMILTON, Ga. (WRBL) — Sandy Sturges, a bus driver for the Harris County School District (HCSD), was surprised during a safety meeting of the HCSD’s transportation department, says an HCSD press release. In honor of her record-setting 45 years of service to the school district, she was given a bouquet of flowers and a plaque by HCSD Transportation Director Michael Dover and the HCSD’s Assistant Director of Business Services and Technology Justin Finney.

“To stick with this profession the number of years that she has is impressive,” Dover said. “This is a unique and special recognition for a unique and special person.”

“I’m speechless. I’m shocked,” Sturges said. “I really do love my job. I know I complain…sometimes. You really have to love it to be a driver. If you don’t love the kids, then you don’t need to sit in that seat.”

Sturges began driving for the district on Oct. 1, 1977.

“Some of the stories about the ways things used to be are amazing,” Finney said. “She said it used to be that the high school seniors drove the bus. Thank you for all that you have done. It opens your eyes to how this profession has evolved.”

“At that time, you just picked up children standing on the side of the road,” Sturges shared. “There were no route sheets like there are today.”

Sturges said she used to make $200 a month as a bus driver.

“And if a bus broke down, you would remove all the children off the bus and take them to the nearest home with a phone,” she said.

Sturges said that during the Christmas season, if children on the bus saw a Christmas tree they liked, she would pull over so they could cut it down and take it to the elementary school.

HCSD is always looking to hire new bus drivers. Anyone interested in becoming a bus driver for the HCSD should visit www.harris.k12.ga.us/employment.

The Harris County School District is located in Hamilton, Georgia. For more information, visit www.harris.k12.ga.us or call (706) 628-4206.