Remembering Charles ``Chuck’’ Albert Poland, Jr.by Representative Martha Roby
Posted on 2013-02-12
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Mrs. ROBY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the heroic actions
of Mr. Charles ``Chuck'' Albert Poland, Jr., a school bus driver from
Southeast Alabama who died protecting the lives of the children in his
Tuesday, January 29, started out just like another day for Mr. Poland, who had worked as a school bus driver for the Dale County Schools system since 2009. However, that afternoon while completing his route, an armed man entered Mr. Poland's school bus and demanded to take children hostage. Faced with this perilous situation, Mr. Poland rushed the children out the bus emergency exit and to safety. Standing between the gunman and the children, Mr. Poland was shot four times and killed. There is little doubt that Mr. Poland's actions saved lives.
This, of course, began the week-long hostage standoff, which, thankfully, ended with the amazing rescue of the child hostage. But who knows how the situation might have ended had Mr. Poland not bravely stood in the gunman's way.
Mr. Speaker, as a mother of two young children, I am particularly moved by the actions Chuck Poland took to protect the children in his care. It is difficult to even imagine our children being in such danger. How heartening to know that--whether in a classroom or on a school bus--people like Mr. Poland are looking out for students and protecting them.
Those who know Chuck Poland best speak to his quiet, humble spirit. They note that he would likely shy away from the attention. Born in Idaho, Mr. Poland made Southeast Alabama his home in the 1960s. He served in the Army before settling down as a diesel mechanic. When he retired, he took up a part-time job as a bus driver. Ultimately, Mr. Poland was asked to become a full-time bus driver in 2009.
Mr. Poland was a beloved husband to Jan, his wife of over 40 years; a loving father to his son, Aaron, and daughter, Lydia; and doting ``Paw-Paw'' to his three grandsons, Timothy, Ryan, and Blake.
Mr. Poland and his wife shared a favorite Bible verse, which, in this moment seems very fitting. ``For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.''--2 Timothy 1:12 According to his son, Mr. Poland viewed his students as his own children, and he looked after them as though they were his own. Chuck Poland would be proud to watch them grow up; to see the men and women they become.
One of the children might grow up to be a scientist who makes the next big discovery or cures a disease. One might start a major company that employs thousands. One might be a soldier who fights valiantly for our country. One might be a teacher, a nurse or a firefighter who makes a difference in the lives of others. But one thing is for sure--they each have the chance to live a full and happy life because their bus driver, Mr. Poland, was willing to give his life for theirs.
The author Joseph Campbell wrote, ``A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.'' Mr. Speaker, today we recognize a true hero. Chuck Poland gave his life so that others may live and, for that, he will always be remembered.