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Bus driver remembered by Warren County Public Schools

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 10:05 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Warren County Public Schools are grieving the loss of one of their one.

73-year-old James Monroe Austin, known as ‘Monty,’ passed away from COVID-19 Monday.

For 11 years, Monty drove a school bus for Richpond and the South Warren area.

Monty worked at International Paper and upon retiring he was a school bus driver for Warren County Schools. Loved ones say he loved driving a school bus and loved his bus riders. If anyone asked what he was doing now he would say, “I drive a school bus and I love it!”

Fellow bus drivers lined Nashville Road Thursday afternoon with their stop lights flashing while hundreds of students, staff, and faculty stood outside of South Warren High School to pay their respects to Monty as his funeral procession passed. Many of the students held signs that read, ‘Sending Spartan Love your way.’

“He would see people that he use to work with, he would say, ‘I drive a school bus now and I love it,” said Devonna Driver, Warren County Public Schools.

The love and respect students, faculty and staff had for Monty was apparent Thursday as they honored him while his funeral procession passed South Warren High School.

”He has made a tremendous difference in the student’s lives and the community. Monty always went out of his way to encourage students to excel and to do positive things and his wife and I were just talking at the funeral home. He talked to gentleman if they were boarding a bus to let the ladies go first. He was very big on that. He made sure that they sang Happy Birthday to each other on the bus, whoever’s birthday it was. He was just very involved with the students and he loved his job, he truly did,” said Driver.

He cared for the students, encouraged their success, and genuinely enjoyed his job as a school bus driver.

Those who knew him say his personality was infectious and he loved all things Tennessee Volunteer football.

”I think everyone is out today to show that they loved Monty. Monty loved everybody, he was good to all of us, always wanted to help, be a part of anything and everything to help anybody else. It’s a testament to the kind of person he was. He loved his family, he loved his job, and he would tell anybody that, ‘I’m proud to be a bus driver,” He’s a family member that students, faculty, staff we’re all going to miss Monty because he made a difference with everybody everyday,” Driver said.

Family and friends of Monty were in awe as they passed the school by the overwhelming love and appreciation for Monty.

This kind of outpour of love just goes to show how much positive impact one person could have on so many.

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