Friends, family and loved ones gathered at the Reva Volunteer Fire Department this past Saturday to celebrate the retirement of Elnora Lightfoot.

The 78-year-old Richardsville resident was in her 20s when she started driving a school bus for Culpeper County Public Schools, a position she stayed with for the next 55 years. She rode her last route at the end of the 2019 school year, and she was all smiles for the surprise gathering in her honor.

“Really, I’ve stuck with it so long because of the children,” Lightfoot said in an interview earlier this year with the Star-Exponent. “I love being around them, and talking to the parents. You learn so much from people.”

“Finally retired” read a banner behind her seat at the Reva Fire Hall, decked out in gold and black balloons and decorations and fresh flowers. “Cheers to 55” read the sparkling cake topper.

CCPS Transportation Director John Walsh, present at Saturday’s party, said trying to replace Lightfoot would be a challenge.

“She is absolutely one of our bedrock drivers, incredibly valuable,” he said in a previous interview.

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©2019 The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, Va.)

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