Three generations help Isle of Wight students get to school

Published 5:31 pm Friday, March 17, 2023

Three generations of an Isle of Wight County family have been helping children get to school.

It all started 20 years ago when Anderson Wrenn retired from the Gwaltney Motor Co. and accepted a job as a bus driver for Isle of Wight County Schools.

He’d turned down at least six prior offers when a supervisor at the school system’s bus garage on Poor House Road learned of his retirement and decided to ask him again.

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“You ain’t doing nothing now, you don’t have no excuse. … You can drive part-time,” Wrenn recalls the man saying, or something to that effect.

The part-time position lasted all of two days. By his third day, he’d moved up to full-time employment.

“I have no complaints,” Wrenn said.

Last year, Wrenn’s daughter, Daisy Bacon, joined Isle of Wight County Schools’ transportation department, also as a bus driver. This year, his other daughter, Rose Cutler, joined as a van driver, and her son, Antonio Cutler, joined as a mechanic.

Rose, prior to taking the job with Isle of Wight County Schools, had been working at Smithfield Foods’ meatpacking plant in town.

“It was too much standing on my feet every day,” Rose said.

Her sister, Daisy, had kept asking her to come work with her in the transportation department, and, like with their father, Daisy’s persistence eventually paid off.

Antonio, until this year, had been working in warehousing, and was looking for a new career.

“It was time to do something different,” Antonio said.

Wrenn’s work day begins at 530 a.m. He’s usually finished with his morning routes by 9 a.m. or shortly thereafter. Rose’s schedule is a little more unpredictable. Sometimes she takes students to Hardy Elementary. Other days, she takes students who have been removed from their regular school environment for disciplinary infractions to Isle of Wight’s UpLift Academy alternative education program at Smithfield Middle School. Occasionally, she’s asked to run the high school routes.

Antonio has a fairly regular schedule. He’s typically on the job from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and described the work as “quick paced.”

“It’s very interesting learning something new every day,” Antonio said.

The uniqueness of working alongside his mother, aunt and grandfather is not lost on Antonio.

“It’s different, I mean, most times you only hear about two generations … Three is really different, it’s special,” Antonio said.