81 year old Bill McIlveen has just retired as Volunteer Bus Driver at Wesley Vickery Sylvania after 30 years at the wheel. Bill drove the bus for regular resident excursions and short trips. He said he always enjoyed helping people and driving the bus has just been part of the fun.
According to Bill:
“There is a need for residents to get out and see something other than the four walls they’re living in. I think I’ve helped in that respect. People enjoy it, smile and come and talk to me. My philosophy is that we were put on this earth to help one another.”
In the decades Bill drove the bus, he was also on his local primary school council, a Volunteer Fireman and Soccer Referee. He is now President of the school council and a Match Commissioner with Football NSW. Bill first learnt about the need for a weekend Bus Driver on weekends when his mother moved to Wesley Vickery Sylvania. Bill had gained his heavy truck licence in the volunteer fire brigade and so had the skills to drive the bus, initially to take residents to Wesley Mission’s Sunday night church services in the city. Bill said he was first attracted to Wesley Mission when he heard the former Superintendent of Wesley Mission, the Rev Dr Sir Alan Walker, speak at a church function.
“I’ve found that Wesley Mission is so involved with youth, the elderly and others in need,” he said. “I’ve been impressed by everything they offer the community.”
He said when he retired from his job as Survey Draftsman at the Water Board, he was asked by staff and residents at Wesley Vickery Sylvania to drive during the week as well.
“I thought that was great,” he said. “I loved it. “I’ve seen a lot of parts of Sydney and New South Wales that I wouldn’t have seen except for driving the bus.” After so many years of getting residents safely, he is ready to hand the keys to someone else. “This has been a big part of my life and I have always looked forward to driving,” he said. “But I’ve found that as I’ve gotten older and less active, I see there are some beaut things I can do at home, like the veggie garden.””