This year I will be celebrating my 46th birthday.
As 46 draws near and mid-life looms, I have begun finding myself looking in the rearview mirror more than I had in the past. I find myself apppreciating the people and their impact on my life.
When I think about these things, I find that I am at times unable to remember many of my teachers from grade school. I struggle to remember the lunch lady who always chided me to eat my apple everyday, but I have never had trouble remembering Mr. Tom.
Who was Mr. Tom you ask? He was my busdriver. You see, I grew up in a home without a father, and with a single mother who worked long hours. In our home I didn’t have a man who showed me the steaddfastness and strength of a man, but twice a day when that big orange bus pulled up, I did.
For a young boy like me consistancy was crucial, and Mr. Tom was a man who was always there on time with a loving smile and a firm demeanor. He helped fix my collar and wipe my tears. He made a powerful difference in the life of this boy.
Why do I share this?
Because there is a man just like Mr. Tom in Mahomet who has loved and served our community and the kids in it, well. He is another “Mr.” Mr. Gene, as he has been affectionately called by so many of the students I have talked to.
For the last 10 years, Gene Covault has served as a bus driver for the Mahomet-Seymour school district. He has arrived with a smile everyday at the bus barn early each morning to take his bus out on route, picking up kids and delivering them to and from school. He has ferried them to sporting events, field trips, and all points in between.
In fact, Mr. Gene would jumped at the chance to drive that bus, and why? Not because he needed the money after retiring from the airline industry, but because he truly loved driving a bus and he truly loved the kids of the Mahomet-Seymour school district.
Many of you may not know, but this past year Mr. Gene has been fighting a terrible form of cancer that in early 2017 took away one of his great loves, the ability to drive a bus. Now, after well over a year of battling this cancer the doctors have informed Mr. Gene that there is nothing more that can be done. Mr. Gene’s time here in our community and on this earth is coming to an end.
Now before you get too sad, please know that Mr. Gene is a Christian, and because he is a Christian he doesn’t believe that his time here is the end of the story. In fact, if anyone had a chance to sit with Mr. Gene these days, though his words are few, and his strength is in short supply, they would find him sharing, “that the sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, the hope that is Jesus Christ holds” (Hebrews 6:19). Mr. Gene is a testament and testimony to faithfulness to God and to the kids in our community, rain or shine.
So why am I telling you all this?
Because, one of the most powerful things that we can know is that we made a difference while we were here. Some of the greatest differences we can make come in the little things that we might take for granted, like the bus driver that picks up the kids every morning throughout the year.
Friends, would you be willing to make time to send a small note of encouragement to Mr. Gene? A note to let him know that he has made a difference, that he is dearly loved, and that our community is better because of the time he spent in it. What I am asking is if you might be willing to be a powerful voice of encouragement as Mr. Gene finishes his earthly race and heads off to heaven. Thank you.
Notes of encouragement and love can be sent to:
“Mr. Gene” Covault
601 West Oda Street
Mahomet, Illinois 61853