SAN ANTONIO - When Eddie Luna decided to retire from the Air Force, he began to wonder what he would do next.
"I saw for bus drivers," Luna said. "I said I'm not scared, I'll drive anything."
But unlike most bus routes, the path Luna drives has a special place in his heart.
"I know what these children are going through and the challenges they face," Luna added. I know the sacrifices the parents are making."
Mr. Eddie, as the children call him, has spent the last three years driving for Randolph Field Independent School District located at Joint Base San Antonio - Randolph Air Force Base.
His current riders are a very special group of young students.
"You've got to go the extra mile with special needs students," Director of Transportation Brandon Casey said, "Because they require more attention."
"We try to make it as calm and peaceful as we can," Luna said. "They yell, 'Mr. Eddie, Mr. Eddie.' It's a beautiful thing."
Whether the special need is easy to see or one that many people may not know about, Mr. Eddy treats every child the same.
"When they click that seatbelt and give a thumbs up and a smile that they accomplished something," Luna adds, "It brings tears to your eyes."
Last year, Mr. Eddie earned the Property Casualty Alliance of Texas Statewide Bus Driver of the Year award. His celebration for the award tells a lot about the type of person he is.
“After he won $1,000 he bought the whole transportation department bar-b-que," Casey said.
For Mr. Eddie, getting behind the wheel of the bus isn't about winning an award, but it's about helping families that remind him of his own.
"I know what it's like to be away from my kids," Luna says. "My wife, when I was gone, she had to be mom and dad. It's tough, and I respect that."
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