Hometown Hero: Earl Belford

Published: Nov. 25, 2017 at 10:29 AM EST
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Leaving something you love is never easy. If you're lucky enough, you'll have a job you love so much you never want to retire. However, Earl Belford didn't have much of a choice.

Earl is a well-known name in the Greenup County School District. He worked with students and sports teams for decades until health issues took over.

The beloved bus driver of more than 30 years was not simply a driver, but a fan and teammate. Working with several teams (although, he had a special bond with the baseball players) Earl got the kids to and from away games safely. He was also in the stands at home games cheering them on.

In addition to being a bus driver, he also spent decades in the classroom teaching kids with special needs.

This big-hearted man didn't have any kids of his own, but he had hundreds.

In August of 2016, Earl was diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer and was forced to leave work. Fast forward to November of 2017 and the doctors told him he only has a few weeks left to live.

The news has been very tough for the community, but they are honoring Earl in as many ways as they can including nominating him to the school district's hall of fame for outstanding service, and nominating him to be a WSAZ Hometown Hero.

In a room filled with family, friends, former students and co-workers, Earl received that Hometown Hero award. There were tears, but even more smiles. His ability to make people happy is obvious and infectious. That is probably what made him so popular and loved among his players, coaches and students.

There are big shoes left to fill behind the wheel of Earl's bus.