In Search Of … A Local School Bus Driver

School bus driver Richard Ekern knows the roads of Westby like the back of his hand, maybe better. “I’ve been
working for the district for 51 years.”

Twice a day, everyday, he’s welcomes these kids on board his famous bus number seven. Back in 1955 when Richard
first began on this long road, he never would guessed where the path would lead him. “At the time I started driving,
it was a need. Extra income. But as the years went on, it just got to be fun.”

And for generations, students have come to know and love this man on the move. “I started riding the bus
kindergarten year. My mom went up to the bus stop and she took a picture of me and we became friends right
away.” “I’ve had him the whole time I’ve been going to to school, and even my dad had him when he was in
school.” “I’ve driven the same route, so I’ve got kids from kids. It’s just fun to be able to see these kids grow up
and parents grow up. It’s just a good feeling.”

Bus drivers come and bus drivers go, but there’s something special about this one. We learned about him in a letter
written to newschannel eight from two of his grateful passengers. “Even though he may not have a teaching degree, hes
been teaching me for the 12 years I’ve been riding the bus. I dread each time I see a substitute driver. His
patience is unlimited. I have learned valuable life lesson of kindness and respect from Richerd, values I will carry
through school and into my future.” “I really appreciate that. It’s just about too much.”

Richard Ekern has definetly made a difference in countless people lives, not by teaching in the front of a
classroom, but by teaching from the front of a bus. “I just like seeing his face when I get on board in the
morning.”

We went in search of…a man that’s made a career out of driving kids to be their best… “It’s fun to be able to
get up in the morning and know that I’ve got this fun little job.” We found him.

Folks in Westby have been depending on Richard for years, but now the tables are turning. He was recently diagnosed
with cancer and he says the entire community has come together to help him through this difficult time. Richard says
so many people are praying for him and supporting him, that he truly believes he’s gonna beat the disease.