It’s been five months since she chased two armed suspects away from South Macon Elementary School with her own vehicle, but she is still receiving accolades for her quick and brave response to a potentially dangerous situation.
She traveled all the way to Richmond, Virginia, over the weekend to attend the National Association for Pupil Transportation Summit to accept the Heroism Award presented by Blue Bird Corporation.
“It was the biggest place I’ve ever been into,” she said about the experience. “This little old country girl got a standing ovation.”
The Heroism Award recognizes people for their acts of heroism in the school transportation industry. A person must be nominated by a NAPT member and be endorsed by two colleagues.
Bradley would have no problem with getting an endorsement from her co-workers or boss. Chris Baldwin, Macon County Schools superintendent, said he was so proud of Bradley’s commitment to her job and protecting students.
“It’s a huge honor for her and all Macon County school bus drivers,” Baldwin said. “It’s a tribute to her career as a bus driver and not just the single event.”
In the early morning hours of June 4 Bradley spotted a suspicious man and woman in the parking lot of the school. She had cranked up her bus just after 5 a.m. and then walked back over to her vehicle to get something. When she spotted the suspects with guns in hand walking toward her bus, she cranked up her car and drove toward the suspects like she was going to run them over. She was able to chase them away from the bus and the school building, and sheriff’s deputies were able to apprehend both subjects.
Even though staff and students weren’t at school yet, the suspects told police they had intentions of shooting students and staff at the school “if it was God’s will.”
Macon County commissioners also recently recognized Bradley and all the law enforcement officers involved in the incident for a job well done.
“I feel like I didn’t do anything someone else wouldn’t have done, but evidently they feel like I did,” Bradley said. “I never expected all this, but it just keeps coming and coming — it’s amazing.”
She’s been a bus driver for Macon County for almost 30 years, but she has no plans to retire. She loves her students and even drove many of their parents to school everyday.
“If I didn’t like it I wouldn’t do it — I’ve always loved the job and I’ve always said I would quit if it ever stressed me,” Bradley said. “I love the kids so I guess I’ll drive till they throw me out.”
Bradley will be honored again Nov. 29 when she serves as the grand marshal in Franklin’s annual Christmas parade.