Thursday, February 10, 2011


I know I have written about Mr. Henry before, but this was on FACEBOOK this morning, written by a friend of mine, Jo, who has 2 daughters the same ages as Summer and Sierra and a son just a bit older than Cole:

"This morning the world lost a wonderful man as the Lord welcomed home Mr. Henry Wiltcher, my children's bus driver.  I can hardly believe it as I write it.  He was no ordinary bus driver.  He made an eternal impact on the lives of my children and so many others.  I wish the world could stop to honor him.  We will miss him so much."

I was in the car this morning when I read this and I couldn't stop crying.  It took me about an hour before I could call Summer and tell her.  She was cried also.  A little retail therapy helped occupy her mind for a while.

Mr. Henry knew the children's names, the parents, names, birthdays, phone numbers--everything about each child that rode his bus.  I remember the first morning he picked Summer up for First Grade.  We had neighbors that looked out for us and told us to call Mr. Henry so he would stop at our house and pick up Summer--at 6:20 am.  I thought that was weird until I realized that Mr. Henry stopped at the house of each family that had children riding the bus.  When he stopped that morning, he got out a form to give to us so that we could write down birthdays and such.  He made sure to pick the completed form later that day when he brought the children home from school.
Sierra would run out to the driveway every day at 3:15 and Mr. Henry would wave and holler "Hello, Miss Sierra!" or "Hi there sweetheart!" every time.
I spend a lot of time at the school volunteering, especially when Summer was in First Grade.  If I was there in the afternoons, Summer would still choose to ride the bus home with Mr. Henry.  Mr. Henry would always go into the school and check on his kids before school dismissed to make sure the ones that rode the bus to school in the morning would be riding home in the afternoon.  One day, we were there and he invited Sierra to ride the bus home with him.  It was probably against some rule somewhere for "non school age children" to ride the bus, but, oh well.  I'm sure Sierra will never forget her one bus ride with Mr. Henry.
Mr. Henry sent a birthday card to each child with $5 in it.  He even remembered Sierra, even though she never attended school in Mississippi.
Mr. Henry called each family on his bus route that Sunday evening before Hurricane Katrina struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  He wanted to make sure each one of his children was aware of the impending storm and that school had been cancelled.  He didn't want any of his children to be waiting for him if he wasn't going to be coming.
School ended up being cancelled for about 3 weeks in our immediate are because people were living in the school as a shelter for a while.  Mr. Henry called to notify each of us when school and bus service was able to resume.
We have kept in touch with Mr. Henry since we left Mississippi.
I wonder how many other hearts he touched like he touched ours.  What a good, good person.

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