William Jeffries faced a dilemma 12 years ago when he was laid off from a salaried job at a local plant, where he had worked for 40 years. So, he decided to collect unemployment for six months until he was eligible for Social Security at age 62. With that, a small pension and money from a 401K, he would make ends meet.
But after working around the house during the summer, fixing and cleaning and updating, he found himself confronting the winter months with the thought, “What am I going to do now? I can’t sit around the house. I’ll go crazy.”
That’s when he told his wife he was going to look for a part-time job. He saw an ad in the newspaper for bus drivers to work five hours a day at the Antonine Adult Day Care Center in North Jackson. He went to speak to Sister Marie Madeleine Iskandar, and the next day he was learning the bus routes. He’s been a bus driver for the facility ever since.
The center provides bus transportation to adults enrolled in the day-care program. All clients are provided nutritious, home-cooked meals; are engaged in conversation and social interaction; receive intellectual stimulation through games and music; and participate in physical activities like handcrafts and light exercise.
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Daily bus service
William, a North Jackson resident, and three other drivers transport clients to the center each day. The drivers start at about 7 a.m. on their assigned routes to pick up clients and get them to the day-care center by around 9 a.m. After a day of activities, snacks and lunch, the clients are then transported back to their homes beginning at around 3 p.m.
William said he likes talking to the clients, and he likes the exercise. “I can’t see myself sitting in a recliner. I like getting out to talk to people and move around. It’s good for your health,” he said.
He admires the way the clients are cared for at the center. “They get home-cooked meals, and the center is immaculate, spotless,” he said, adding, “It’s really a nice facility. I wouldn’t be afraid to send anyone there.”
Vehicle maintenance supervisor
Besides providing transportation for day-care attendees, William oversees the servicing of all vehicles at the Antonine Village and Adult Day Care Center including four full-size buses, one minibus, one minivan and three cars used by the Antonine sisters.
And his responsibility is to keep tabs on all vehicles so that they are in good operating order. “Sister Madeleine wants to make sure all the vehicles are safe.”
William is amazed that after 12 years, he’s still working as a bus driver. “I always said I hope the good Lord would give me 10 good years after retirement, and I’ve surpassed that,” he said.
And but it doesn’t sounds like he’s going to call it quits anytime soon. “I will continue as long as I have my health.”
William and his wife have five children, 10 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and one on the way.