Things are changing over Parrottsville way.
With the end of the 2018-2019 school year, Ronald Blazer will close out his career as a county school bus driver after 42 years of service.
Blazer’s route covers the communities of Brown’s Chapel, Peanut, Freshour Hollow, and Hwy. 340. Every fourth day he also drives to Cocke County High School and back.
The late W.C. Smith, then a member of the Cocke County Board of Education, approached Blazer over four decades ago and recruited him as a driver.
“That was in 1976,” recalled Blazer recently, “and they needed a driver. I worked as a substitute for a year and then went full-time in 1977. Beth Freeman was superintendent then.”
In addition to fulfilling his daily duties of transporting literally hundreds of students to and from their homes to school, Blazer also farms, currently overseeing about 200 acres. “I just do beef cattle now, plus a large garden,” he said.
One might also say that in his “spare time,” Blazer has also served his community as a member of the Cocke County Road Commission. He’s now in his sixth term. “I’ve got three more years to go in this term,” said Blazer.
Although Blazer is retiring from his full-time position, he said he’ll probably continue to substitute for a few more years.
He’s driven three generations of students to and from their studies and is now on his fourth bus. “I carry about 62-63 students each day.”