GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) Dozens of model toy buses can be found scattered throughout WWII veteran Bernie Jones’ home. The 92-year-old is glad he’s retired from driving school and city buses, but the models take him back to his years behind the wheel.
“Every time I see a bus go by I thought to myself, ‘I could still be driving that!'” Jones said. “But now I don’t feel that way.”
Bernie first caught the bus bug in the military. He enlisted at 17-years-old in 1944 and wanted to join the Marines.
“I was colorblind,” he said. “I didn’t pass so I was put in the Army.”
Bernie was in the 71st infantry division. They were sent to Le Havre, France to assist with the Battle of the Bulge but Bernie got lucky because his group split up.
“That was practically the end of the war,” he said. “I got put in the field artillery after that.”
More specifically, the 845th Field Artillery. Bernie was instead sent to Paris, and that’s when his love behind the wheel began.
“I was driving truck, hauling supplies around,” he said. “A load of food would come from the states, I’d go down and meet that boat, then I’d bring that to other Army camps. I drove everything in the Army from Jeeps through semis.”
After more than a year overseas, Bernie would come back home. He then spent 31 years part-time as a school bus driver, and drove the city bus for 17 years after that.
“I worked the city bus until I was 85 years old,” he said. “98% of the passengers are nice, you get along good with them.”
When asked about the other 2%, Bernie said “you live with ’em.”
No matter where he was or who he was traveling around, being on the road always put a smile on his face.
“I got behind the wheel of any vehicle and I was just happy!” he exclaimed.
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