SYCAMORE – After working 30 years at a spark plug plant in Fostoria, Franklin Callahan decided he was “too young to sit and do nothing.” So, for the past 11 years, he has been
driving bus for Mohawk Local Schools.
Come May, he plans to retire again.
Callahan, 80, said has been a lifelong resident of Seneca County. He is married with three grown children and served in the U.S. Air Force, spending two years in Okinawa.
He began as a substitute driver in Melmore. When a full-time route came available with Mohawk, Callahan took it.
“I like kids. You have to like kids,” Callahan said. “It takes a special person to be a good bus driver. If you respect them, they will respect you.”
Over the years, Callahan said he has had only one or two children who were any problem.
“This year, I have the best kids I have ever had,” Callahan said.
Callahan wakes up at 5 every morning. On a typical day, he checks the bus out by making sure everything is in working order, including the turn signal, the clearance lights, the tires and the emergency exits. He also makes sure there is enough water and oil for the engine.
“It is not just up to the mechanic. It is up to the driver,” he said.
Callahan drives three routes every day. He picks up children for school in the morning, takes them to Sentinel in the afternoon and takes them home after school.
At the end of the day, Callahan has to recheck the bus before he leaves. He said he has to check to make sure there are no children left behind. Callahan said he has had two occasions when young children had fallen asleep on the bus.
“In that case, you have to call the supervisor and advise them of the situation,” he said.
Mohawk Transportation Supervisor Harry Traxler described Callahan as a good, reliable and faithful driver.
“I’m going to miss him,” Traxler said.
Once retired, Callahan said he is going to be doing a lot of golfing and fishing. He said he may remain a substitute driver if the district needs him.
“Once a bus driver, always a bus driver,” Callahan said.
For future drivers, Callahan advised: “Be prepared. Driving bus is not just a job, it is an adventure.”