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Beloved Sevastopol school bus driver retires after 17 years of driving

Posted at 10:05 PM, May 30, 2024

DOOR COUNTY (NBC 26) — Jerry Nelson held back tears as he stepped onto his school bus for the final time.

  • Nelson drove school buses for the Sevastopol School District for 17 years
  • He decided to retire due to ongoing re-certification requirements

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

"Jerry, you've been my bus driver for 8 years," said one kid who sat behind Jerry.

It's the only school in town and one man has been a daily fixture on bus routes for 17 years.

But today, on the last day of school for students at Sevastopol

Gerald Nelson—Jerry to most—took his final ride ...

"I just want to thank everybody for letting me work here for 17 years. I enjoyed it."

Today, on his 80th birthday, his license expired. This time, however, he isn't getting it renewed. Jerry says it's just too taxing.

"I wish I didn't have to go, but 80 years old, what can you do?"

I wanted to see what the students have enjoyed all these years. Jerry was kind enough to let me join him on his final route.

He reminisced about his time as a student at Sevastopol in 1950, his time in the U.S. Navy, and his time as a bus driver.

To me, it was clear that he is beloved by the students he transported. They weren't afraid to give him a hug or even just talk to him.

In return, Jerry gave the kids his homemade maple syrup as a way of saying goodbye.

"They enjoyed me. They really liked me. It's going to be hard not coming back next fall 'cause I like them, too."

Jerry says while he is sad to leave his school bus days, one the thing he does look forward to is spending more time working at a local cherry orchard.