An extraordinary man, from custodian to chief mechanic

CHARLES TOWN — When Robert Boylan talks about his chief mechanic, he can’t say enough good things.

“I have witnessed an individual that strives both professionally and personally in every way to seek educational and professional advancement,” said Boylan, coordinator of transportation at Jefferson County Schools about Richard Bussard.

Last month, Bussard was selected first runner up for the West Virginia State Service Personnel of the year by the West Virginia Department of Education. He was awarded the honor in Charleston July 11.

Boylan praised his mechanic’s problem solving skills, which he said have been on display beyond the normal work environment and to the citizens of the community.

Richard Bussard is chief mechanic for Jefferson County Public Schools. Last month, Bussard was selected as first runner up for the West Virginia State Service Personnel of the year by the West Virginia Department of Education.

“He is a passionate and supporting individual and his involvement is felt daily by the employees and the children that become his responsibility in his daily job duties,” Boylan said.

Bussard said he loves his job. He’s been at it for 25 years and 3 months.

He went from building furniture when he graduated from Jefferson High School to working at the transportation depot.

“One day the boss asked me if I wanted to work in the shop and I said yes,” he said.

“Mr. Meadows asked me if wanted to be a substitute mechanic. And that how it all started,” Bussard said. At the time Bussard was a school custodian.

“I never knew I would get this far. I’m surprised,” he said.

Bussard said he enjoys working with the employees at the transportation department.

“Some of them were bus drivers when I was in school. I remember a few of them because they drove us on football trips,” Bussard said.

“I’ve known a lot of these people pretty much all my life.”

Boylan said Bussard displays calmness in tough situations on a daily basis.

Bussard will celebrate his 47th birthday and his 22nd wedding anniversary in September.

He has a daughter 16, and son 8.

Boylan said Bussard has been an instrumental part in a legislative bill that has increased training and compensation for school bus mechanics throughout West Virginia.

“This new legislation has also brought about the first rule book for bus inspections in the state. For this I commend him,” Boylan said.

Gail Woods, public relations spokesperson for the school system also praised Bussard.

“He is such an unselfish man. He’s a marvelous person and so dedicated to the school system,” Woods said.

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