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Idaho dad volunteers as a school bus driver

Clint Whitehead, the president of Western Trailers in Boise, is now moonlighting as a school bus driver to help tackle the current driver shortage.

BOISE, Idaho — Clint Whitehead is a family man, a devoted husband, and a dad of three girls. He's also the president of Western Trailers, a Boise company that's been a part of the community for over fifty years. They make semi-trailers and sell them all over North America. 

This Boise man can now add something else to his resume, a school bus driver. Whitehead applied for the job when he heard about the bus driver shortage in the Treasure Valley.

"I have three children in the Boise Schools, they have always been bus riders, we just love the school bus, we love the Boise Schools. I have an 8th grader, a 6th grader, and a 4th grader," said Whitehead. 

Like so many parents, Whitehead noticed there were a lot of issues this year with bus pick up and drop off.  

"The busses were late and not showing up, and you could see there was a serious problem," said Whitehead. "It's the driver shortage, labor issues, everyone is having them, we are having them in our factory also." 

So, instead of complaining, Whitehead decided to do something about it. He marched over to Durham Bus Company, which is right next to Western Trailers.

"I asked if I could help."

He was qualified to drive, passed the background check, and the bus company happily took him up on his offer to be a substitute driver when needed. 

"I just help in the mornings a couple days a week, and it's been really rewarding, it's pretty neat," Whitehead told KTVB. "It's pretty much before my regular work hours so it all works out." 

Whitehead said the best part of the job is meeting the kids. But, he also said in the last few months, he's learned quite a few things about driving a school bus.

"They have to hustle, these guys are really good drivers. It puts me to the test. I consider myself a pretty good driver, and it puts me to the test every day to be on time," said Whitehead. "They give you these books with sheets of paper, it's like mapquest, it shows you where the routes and the stops are. They have me all over the place, I'm a substitute, so you never know where I'm going. They are all brand new busses, they are 2021, no miles on them beautiful machines."

He wants people to know Durham, and other bus companies in the valley, are hiring right now.

"They pay amazing anywhere in the valley here, and if bus driving is not your thing, come over to my factory and build trailers. We need 40 to 50 people, too. It's just hard to be an HR person right now," said Whitehead. 

One thing is for certain, Clint says people would be blown away by the hard work and dedication of his coworkers at Durham. He says they are the real heroes. He's just a dad trying to help out how he can. 

"Oh yeah, they are the real heroes, not me. I'm just filling a seat, they do it every day, they really care. I'm just really impressed and it's been really great to get to know this crew of people over here and I'm glad I can help out just a little bit." 

Whitehead says he'll keep on driving for as long as he needs to.

"Until they don't need me!"

He says it just feels like the right thing to do.

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