School bus driver serves country as Army Reservist
Glenn Calkins’ experiences over the past 20 years have spanned from greeting students as they board a school bus to serving as a combat engineer with the U.S. Army Reserve. Like many CSEA members, Calkins’ life has been focused on service—to country and community.
Calkins, 55, is a bus driver with Twin Rivers Unified Chapter 1717 and has safely transported students to and from school since 1994. He’s also a Sergeant E-5 in the Army Reserve, and since 1991 has served in Iraq, Panama, El Salvador and Germany.
With Veterans Day on Nov. 11, Association President Allan Clark applauded the service of U.S. Military veterans. He asked all CSEA members to join him in recognizing their contributions.
“Please take time to thank those who have served our country this Veterans Day,” Clark said. “We enjoy the freedoms we have because of their sacrifices.”
Calkins was deployed to Iraq for a year from 2003-2004. During his tour there, Calkins’ duties included delivering medical supplies to the front lines and driving in convoys. With the operation starting in 2003, Calkins said the terrain was rugged and the climate was dangerous. There were no organized camps when he arrived—they slept in tents every night—and they regularly faced mortar attacks and tracer rounds.
“When you’re on the front lines, it’s a little different,” he said, explaining that the experience was interesting but harrowing. “You guys were watching it on TV and I was there.”
Calkins said the complete lack of modern conveniences, including running water, made for a sort of
culture shock when he returned to the United States.
“I forgot how to turn on the washing machine,” he said, laughing. “We didn’t have anything.”
Earlier this year, Calkins volunteered and was deployed to El Salvador on a completely different kind of mission. Calkins managed medical supplies and sterilized medical instruments in health clinics where doctors performed cataract surgery on local residents.
“We would go to a school, set up and people would come in and get treatment,” Calkins said.
As a school bus driver at Twin Rivers, Calkins transports junior high and high school students to and from school every day. He said he enjoys interacting with the kids and is happy to be part of the “family” with other drivers.
“We do the best job we can driving the school bus,” he said. “If the classifieds weren’t on the job, the kids wouldn’t get here.”
Clark said CSEA is made up of people who are dependable, diligent, loyal and community-minded—
people who have dedicated their lives to serving others.
“Many CSEA members have served our country in the military and now serve their communities as classified employees,” Clark said. “This legacy of service speaks to the selfless nature of classified employees.”
Calkins said on Veterans Day he thinks about the freedom we enjoy in the United States that people don’t have elsewhere. And he thinks about veterans who have suffered or continue to suffer from injuries, hoping that the government will take care of them properly. But mostly, Calkins appreciates being able to raise the flag in front of his home and being with his family.
“I appreciate being home on Veterans Day,” he said