Bus Driver Saluted for Saving Child’s Life

The highest award presented by Laurens County School District 56, the “Spirit of 56 Award,” was presented at the April meeting of the Board of Trustees on Monday evening. Superintendent David O’Shields asked that Assistant Superintendent Dr. David Pitts come forward along with two bus drivers, a husband and wife team, Mr. Carey and Mrs. Judy Barnette.

Carey Barnette was recognized for being a mainstay of the Transportation Department for years, for his tireless efforts in transporting students to and from school and for transporting academic teams to competitions for considerable distances. But, it was his wife, Judy Barnette, who was presented with the Spirit of 56 Award.  As Dr. O’Shields put it, Mrs. Barnette did something truly exceptional.

Recently, a child on her bus was enjoying a sucker when the candy portion of the sucker came off and became lodged in the child’s throat.  Mrs. Barnette realized that the child was choking, brought the bus to a stop, assessed the child and performed the Heimlich maneuver, dislodging the candy that was blocking the child’s airway.  A child who would have almost certainly died was suddenly fine, thanks to Mrs. Barnette’s actions.

“On behalf of a very grateful District we cannot say enough about the Spirit of 56 Award to Mrs. Barnette.  You are the hero this time for saving a child in a time of need.”

Assistant Superintendent David Pitts also expressed his gratitude for the excellent work of Mrs. Barnette, day in and day out, and for making the right decisions, under pressure, which saved a life.