Hometown Hero: Troy Miley

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- If you look back at your time in school, chances are your daily commute doesn't stand out. If anything, you likely remember waiting for it more than the journey.

However, that's because you didn't ride bus 722.

It's not the number that sets this colorful carraige apart, it's the man up front. However, where do you find a bus driver? The answer: halfway around the world.

"I was in Amman, Jordan," said Troy Miley, "and a group of us were making computer tables to help Iraqi orphans."

Apparently, Miley's daughter didn't think it was safe for a man approaching 70 to be that close to the turmoil in the Middle East. She asked her father to come home.

Puzzled as to what to do next, she had an unusual suggestion.

"She said, 'dad, I think you need to become a bus driver,'" said Miley.

After four years in the air force, 25 with the postal service, and 17 seasons spent as a missionary in 30 countries, Troy Miley's next adventure would be enjoyed sitting down.

Six years later and the differences between the children in the seats and the one at the wheel are few.

"I'm a big kid, I'm an old kid," said Miley.

It's the little things that make this ride special; like a box of books, a miniature library miley had a mechanic strap to the seat so that these kids would have entertainment on their way home.

"If you get eight or ten of them reading different books, it sounds like a choir," said Miley.

What goes better with a paperback than food? The weekly donuts and soda are another way Miley spoils these children like they're his own.

However, all days on this bus aren't smooth sailing. There are many times the title of bus driver takes a back seat to counselor and friend.

"I had a little boy get on the bus, and he looked at me, and he had tears in his eyes and he said, 'my dad left last night, and my mom doesn't know what to do,'" remembers Miley.

Situations like this are ones pizza and pop can't cure. Instead, they're healed by taking the time to care.

"They got a whole lot they want to tell ya," said Miley, "but they don't have anyone, most of the time, that wants to listen."

On this day, we were the ones who listened. We took the advice from Miley's coworkers and awarded him a Hometown Hero award.

"I think he's found his nitch here driving the school bus," says Don Straight.

Fellow drivers like Straight see a passion and an energy.

"You see him going across the lot in the morning and he's going 70 miles per hour," joked Straight. "He don't slow down."

It's that zest for living that even motivated Miley to earn his doctorate at age 71! It took him 19 years, longer than his oldest passenger has been alive.

"He inspired a lot of us when he did that," said Straight.

However, that degree won't be used to move up careers. Miley's in this job for the long haul.

"Till I die. Till they tell me I can't drive anymore," said Miley.

Until then, you'll find him here at the helm, making sure the last kid gets home safely. He'll be giddy to do it all again, enjoying life's great ride.

"When they get on this bus at five minutes till six, and I head out Kanawha Turnpike and pick up my first two little boys, that's my next adventure," said Miley

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