They don't make 'em like Wayne Kupke anymore. For many decades, Wayne has been the epitome of dependability at Elmwood-Murdock Schools.
Wayne broke into the bus driving business back in 1970...44 years ago. Wayne says, "It's going to be very weird looking out the kitchen window after 44 years, every bus I drove has been in my driveway."
After 6 superintendents and 5 buses, Wayne says it's time to move on, "I've drove a little over a million miles and never had an accident except maybe a couple of mailboxes I backed out and knocked 'em over. After that, they decided to move 'em down the road a little bit."
Wayne loved driving, but driving was always the easy part of the job, "Every morning you get up it's a challenge. Are you going to have kids that you've got to take to the principal? In the winter time are you going to make the route, get stuck in the snow bank or mud?"
But in the end, "I just love kids. That's how I stuck with it for 44 years."
And that kind of dedication inspired superlatives from Superintendent Dan Novak, "Remarkable, I just think dedication, love for what you do, love of children, dependable, responsible, caring, all the things you look for in an employee, especially in a bus driver who is the first person that the kids see everyday."
Wayne says, "They've always called me "Smiley" but I've always been that way. I'll say good morning to 'em."
If you're in the Elmwood-Murdock area this Sunday afternoon, March 9, 2014, drop by Wayne's Retirement/72nd Birthday Party.
It gets underway at 1pm at the Elmwood-Murdock High School.