It’s the end of an era for school transportation in the Valley, as Alan Reddick has announced he is retiring after 36 years of driving. Many people in the Valley have fond memories of riding the bus with Reddick, as he has been around for generations: he has seen kids graduate and have kids of their own, and has driven those children as well.
Reddick started driving in 1986, when he took over his father’s bus route. His father started driving in 1967, when Chateauguay Valley Regional High School (CVR) first opened. Reddick says that throughout the years, “95 per cent of the kids in the bus, you get to know very well… most of them for the right reason.” He feels like he’s been lucky with the students that he’s had on his bus: “That’s one of the things great about the Valley. We are lucky that we do have really good kids here.”
He’s had quite a few adventures on the bus. He tells one story about driving to a sports event through a “Oui” rally during the 1995 referendum. The entire team rolled down the windows and started screaming the national anthem in response. Reddick worried about what the reaction would be at the time, but he laughs and says, “They were so out of tune I think that the rally took pity on me.” As a driver he was afforded the opportunity to drive all over the province, from Quebec City to Gatineau and a thousand places in between, so there are countless memories.
Reddick didn’t just drive for the average school day runs; he did field trips, extracurricular outings, and trips with local groups like 4-H and Scouts. Reddick, who took part in the interview from his bus in CVR’s parking lot, says that he struggles to talk about himself. To him, volunteering with community organizations is “in his nature,” and isn’t something he ever questioned.
With the announcement of his retirement, Reddick has been met with lots of love from the community. Recently, Howick Elementary School honoured him with a plaque for his work. And at CVR’s annual Sports Award Banquet, athletic director Terri Marino called him their “driver extraordinaire,” and proceeded to dedicate a part of the ceremony to him. She recounted how at the end of this year’s basketball season, “When playoff finals were happening, the budget for transportation had dried up. Parents stepped up and drove players to our final game. Looking up into the bleachers at the start of the game, who walked in with his wife, Marjory? That’s right – Alan.” Though he wasn’t even driving, Marino says, “He said he could not miss watching his Lady Spartans win the championship.” And the team did just that!
Though he’s retiring from the day-to-day driving, Alan will still be helping out with occasional sports events and trips, so this isn’t a total goodbye just yet. With his retirement, he says he plans to “take some time for myself, now. And my wife and I are going to do some traveling for sure. I’ll have time to slow down.” It’s clear that the community has been touched by his dedication over so many years, and his daily presence in his iconic bus will be greatly missed by all.