Sometimes it takes a tragedy to draw attention to those who serve us in different ways.
Jennifer Beckum, a school bus driver, was killed Jan. 5 when she wrecked her McDuffie County school bus on Rachel Road, a few miles from Dearing.
There has been an outpouring of love for Mrs. Beckum from fellow bus drivers and others. A prayer service was held in her memory Jan. 6, and bus drivers along with firefighters from the city of Thomson and McDuffie County attended funeral services Sunday for Mrs. Beckum, whose husband, Mark, is a ranking officer with the county fire/rescue services.
After learning of their colleague's death on Jan. 5, bus drivers gathered at the hospital simply to be together and support one another.
During that time, McDuffie County School Superintendent Jim LeBrun consoled bus drivers and offered hugs to many of them. He also prayed with them. He attended the prayer service held in her memory at the bus shop the next morning.
On Friday afternoon, county school bus drivers were shown how much they are appreciated for the job they do by administrators, teachers and students at J.A. Maxwell Elementary School in Thomson.
"We wanted to do something to lift their spirits and let them know that we care about them and love them," said Principal Donna Bennett.
Gift bags were presented to each of the bus drivers -- a token of appreciation for what they do every day.
Hand-painted signs also were displayed -- one of which said bus drivers "are awesome."