As Mickey McAllister, 61, and Wayne Dragon, 65, get ready to run their last season of full-time bus routes, the district they have served for years prepares to say goodbye to the longtime drivers.
Dragon has been a driver for South Colonie for the past 15 years. He came to the district from a job at Sears in the furniture department, which has now closed, where he had worked for 26 years.
A current president of the Fuller Road Fire Department, Dragon said his friends at the firehouse were the ones that actually encouraged him to become a bus driver. He is also an EMT with the department's first responders and has been with the fire department in different capacities since 1967.
He plans to stay with the fire department even after he retires as a bus driver on Oct. 21, two days after his 66th birthday.
Dragon said he made the decision to retire this year because he wants to be able to spend time with his five children and six a seventh is on the way grandchildren.
"I've worked two jobs all my life," he said.
He said one of his most memorable moments as a bus driver was when he said he saved a man's life about five years ago.
It was the week students were taking their Regent's exams, and the bus routes were a little different than usual because of the testing. Dragon was driving on Sand Creek Road when he saw a man lying on the ground in what appeared to be an emergency condition.
Dragon pulled over his car, he said, blocking traffic, so that he could help. He then administered CPR to the man, who was not breathing, and got the man stable enough to transport him to the hospital. The man, who suffered from a health condition, survived the incident.