The morning of December 2, 2013, a friend of mine that I worked with at the Troup County Board of Education, posted that on this day 6 years ago, she woke up and decided it was time to go. So she went to work and served notice of retirement. No big deal you say. Well, it was a big deal, only it was like the old saying, "You don't miss your water until the well runs dry."
When I went to work for Transportation, Donna Beall Pate
was that water. A little double wide trailer behind Whitesville Road
Elementary School housed the hub of all bus transportation for Troup
County. Donna would be there 1st thing every morning always wearing more
hats than her tiny frame aught to be able to carry. I never knew her
official title, as most of us just tried to get the job done back then.
She was John Thompson's secretary, time keeper, dispatcher, events
scheduler, and I am sure on many occasions, janitor. She would answer
the angry phone calls from the parents, which were mostly stupid, she
would field questions from angry drivers, which were mostly stupid, all
the while doing her part to keep the buses running and getting kids to
She saw to it that drivers got paid, even though many times
they failed to turn in the paperwork on time(if ever). That was one of
the big wake up calls to 'field trip' drivers when Donna retired, the
new 'accounting queen' flatly would not pay if she did not have
I seriously doubt that she will, but only Donna can tell
you of all the drama that went on when we moved to the current location
with lots of room to put lots of desks to fill with lots of unneeded
jobs. Mark Linstrom was now the director and believed in having many
levels of command, which is another way of having buffers and passing
the buck. The Lead Driver Program was a good idea in theory, but any
time you promote someone, give them a title, well if they were any good
to start with, that sure ruins them. The only one that was immune to
this was ole Bob Duffey. I loved that man. He always told me that I knew
how to do my job better than he did and if I needed him to call him. He
stayed out of my way and let me run my job. He also "jumped the
director's case" on my behalf when I had a run in with another lead
Back to Donna, her leaving put a tear in the cosmic time
continuum of transportation life. There were those that were quick to
want the job, what could be so hard about writing numbers on a time
form?? When the realization of what our beloved Ms. Pate actuality
did(and not get paid for) hit the fan, well, at one time, I counted 3
people doing the job and not very well at that.
While it is true that no one is irreplaceable, it just takes a few extra to replace some people.
You were missed the day you left Donna.