LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Before many people have even clocked in for the day, Erika Futch has started her bus route in Livingston Parish. The thing is, she's voluntarily working extra hours to do this, all because she saw a family in need.
North Live Oak Elementary was short a special education bus driver, forcing the Posey family to drive their son, Blake, to school for the past several months. He has multiple sclerosis. The trip was becoming difficult for the family. "With four other children, that kind of makes things pretty strenuous," Barry Posey said.
To help out the family, the Livingston Parish School District asked teachers to take a course and apply for a commercial driver's license or CDL. "At first, I was like, I don't know if I can drive a big bus," said the 23-year veteran teacher.
But after watching the Poseys struggle, she jumped at the chance to help them. "I said, 'Why not give it a try?'" Futch said. "Now I get to pick him up and it's a great job."
"For one individual to go to that measure to take care of your child, it's just a blessing," Posey said. "A tremendous blessing."
Futch says the training took a total of about four to five weeks to complete, which included a written exam and driving test. After Futch makes several more stops and d rops Blake and dozens others off to learn, she walks into a classroom of her own as one of North Live Oak's special education teachers.
For Futch and her assistants, it's nonstop until the end of the day when she has to do it all over again. "I thought if I could help one person, this would be a great way to do it," Futch said.
And while many people, including her principal, Michelle Stone, call her a superstar, Futch says that's one title she'll continue to deny. "No, I'm just a teacher who likes to drive a bus," she said. "I'm just excited that I can help somebody."
"She puts the needs of her students above anything else," Stone said.
Blake's father says Futch is one of the most positive, happy upbeat people he's ever met. "We know we can never repay her," Posey said. "I make sure to tell her thank you every morning before he gets on the bus."