Ralph Sienknecht set to retire after 56 years as a bus driver - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Ralph Sienknecht set to retire after 56 years of driving a school bus

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Bus driver Ralph Sienknecht Bus driver Ralph Sienknecht
TAMA COUNTY (KWWL) -

Ralph Sienknecht started driving a school bus 56 years ago for Clutier Public School, now part of North Tama County Schools.

"For extra income, is what it was really for," Sienknecht said. "I worked in Clutier and needed a little extra income, so I started driving bus."

He's with the students each morning and afternoon. After five decades, safety is still Sienknecht's top priority.

"Fifty-six years and no accidents, and he's probably hauled more than 3,000 kids over the years," said North Tama Transportation Director Joel Larsen.

KWWL rode along on the school bus for an afternoon route. Most of his bus route is in Clutier.

Besides different students and upgraded buses, Sienknecht said his actual route hasn't changed much since the 1960s.

North Tama has five bus drivers. Sienknecht has the most experience.

"I guess I'm the longest one, so far," said Sienknecht.

The 79-year-old thinks this will be his last year driving a school bus.

His dedication to the job hasn't gone unnoticed.

"Thank you, Ralph. It's definitely appreciated from me and everybody here at the school," said Larsen.

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