School bus drivers, police and fire transport residents on icy roads

Published: Feb. 17, 2021 at 11:16 PM CST
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - As more than 25,000 remain without power in Temple, and icy roads made traveling to warmth difficult, city police fire and school bus drivers hit the streets to help Temple residents get to warming shelters, doctors appointments or to the pharmacy.

“We have a mission and we’re going to get it done,” Assistant Transportation Director, Amy Scopac for Temple ISD said Wednesday.

Their five handicap buses and three vans have been making runs around town since Tuesday night.

“We’ve gone to nursing homes that don’t have power, picked up people from the emergency room from Baylor Scott and White and we would take them to the pharmacy to get their prescription,” Scopac said.

“They left their own families some of them even without power and they went to go help others,” Superintendent Dr. Bobby Ott added.

He says the seven drivers that stepped up to work are their most experienced drivers.

One even stayed the night in the Temple Police Station, ready to pick someone up at a moments notice; Ott called the effort inspiring.

The school district and city were working in tandem to make sure those in need got where they needed to go.

Temple resident Wayne Roark missed his dialysis appointment Monday because of a closure. Wednesday he wondered how he would get to the appointment.

“Going 5 days without dialysis, that’s pretty scary,” Roark said.

His brother, a coach at TISD called Ott to try and find him a ride to the appointment.

Ott connected him with the city and two fire fighters came to pick him up. A police officer then brought him back home when it was over.

“Those guys are needed in such great variety in our city there’s no way one of them can take off to take me to dialysis, well they did. And I was blown away, it was amazing,” he said.

He says it was really cool to ride with the fire department with the roads as icy as they were.

“We were in this truck and sliding all over the place but they handled it so well it was honestly awesome,” Roark added.

While most Texans don’t have a lot of experience driving on roads covered in snow and ice, Scopac says TISD bus drivers are in constant training.

“These guys are professionals and they display that every day driving our kids so to see them do it for the community too when they’re in need is cool,” Ott said.

A service truck with a mechanic followed the buses all day in case they needed push to get out.

Temple Mayor Tim Davis says he’s proud of the city officials, churches, school and community for stepping up in this trying time.

The city has several warming stations open that can accommodate 800 residents.

As of Wednesday afternoon about 250 people were occupying them.

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