HISTORY: Remembering Ruston’s first school bus driver who built it from scratch

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RUSTON, LA (10/20/19)– Bus drivers may seem like ordinary people, but for the Ruston community their first driver is a local hero. During the Great Depression, Ruston High School didn’t have a bus to get students to school. John S. Parkman saw the need and decided he wouldn’t just be the driver but also the provider.

“He also built a school bus, he had the first school bus in lincoln parish , that I am aware of. He built it from scratch, he bought a truck and built the seats,” said Eddie Parkman, John Parkman’s Grandson.

John’s grandson, Eddie, says he was always helping the community

“Oh he was a hard working man, everybody respected him. He never took handouts,” said Eddie Parkman.

So much so, that the bus was used more than just for school. Eddie say’s his grandfather was selfless and used it for almost every request.

“He would use it to take people to the state fair, also use it to take them to church, if they had some functions in town, he would go around picking people up,” said Eddie Parkman.

John would never let anyone pay him for a ride or the gas, ultimately he viewed it as the communities bus- not his own. His generosity and love is being carried on by his grandson, Eddie. He’s been a baseball coach for 46 years, making sure each kid never pays a penny and gets the chance to play the sport…no matter their income.

“It’s a great legacy that we try to carry on from our grandfather that we all loved very much,” said Eddie Parkman.

Eddie says Ruston will always remember the man who built the first high school bus…a reminder that giving back to the community can one day make you a local hero.

Eddie is carrying on his grandfathers legacy by pouring into the youth of his community with his baseball team. Currently, the team is raising money so each one of them can play for free, if you would like to donate, you can send the money to D-5 baseball in Choudrant, La.

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