What’s yellow outside and red, white and blue inside? Patriotic Parachute bus
Special to the Post Independent
When Garfield County School District No. 16 school bus driver Karamia Clark hung a small picture of her husband, Army Cpl. James A. Clark, on her bus she had no idea what the response from the students who ride the bus would be.
That response has turned into an outpouring of patriotism and support. Students from Parachute/Battlement Mesa soon began bringing in their own mementos to display. Along with that one small photo, Clark had also hung on the bus ceiling an American flag that had flown in her yard for seven years.
“Kids immediately began asking about who that was in the picture. Pretty soon I had kids telling me about their brother, uncle or cousin who was serving in the military overseas. They all wanted to know if they could bring in a photo and help decorate the bus,” said Clark.
Clark was so inundated with flags, hand-drawn messages and pictures that she had to take a Saturday morning to allow students to help decorate the bus. Around 20 students showed up that morning and soon the bus went from yellow, to, red, white and blue. With so many flags and messages Clark had to take some home to post in her windows.
“I had no idea it would turn into this when I placed one photo and one flag on the bus,” said a beaming Clark. “I’m very proud of what the kids have done; they are just awesome. They were so into this that some of them even went back home and got cleaning supplies to wash the windows and wipe down the seats. They wanted it to be perfect.”
Clark noted that the majority of students on hand to help were from Bea Underwood Elementary.
When students on Route 2 boarded the bus on Monday morning they were amazed at what their peers had accomplished.
“The elementary students just thought it was awesome. Even the high school kids were in amazement. It was fun to watch them all as they stared at the ceiling looking at all the artwork,” said Clark.
Ida Fienberg was in town visiting her grandkids when she saw the bus. Fienberg cried when she saw what the kids had accomplished. She is the mother of Cpl. James Clark.
Clark, a reservist, is currently stationed at Fort Carson, Colo., where he is training with the Engineering Corps. They have been given notice that their unit will be deployed to Kuwait in late April. Clark had been out of the Army for five years when he signed up for the Reserves after Sept. 11, 2001.
The Route 2 bus has become a focal point for the District 16 bus fleet as other route buses have begun their own patriotic campaign. District 16 transportation director Linda Cannizzaro said at first other students weren’t as eager to decorate their buses.
“Once word got out and the kids saw what the students on Route 2 had done they all wanted to do something to show their support.”
Sandy Hanson is the public information director for Garfield County School District #16.
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