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July 8, 2020

6/17/2020 1:55:00 PM
Well-wishers participate in drive-bys to celebrate JCSC retirees
Sixth grader Connor Ramsey hands Floyd a big can of beans,  which was a private joke between the two of them.
+ click to enlarge
Sixth grader Connor Ramsey hands Floyd a big can of beans, which was a private joke between the two of them.
Teachers Jenny George and Kathy Hearne took care of cards and gifts that paraders dropped off. It was quite the show of appreciation and support for the long-time educator.—Staff Photos by Barbara King
+ click to enlarge
Teachers Jenny George and Kathy Hearne took care of cards and gifts that paraders dropped off. It was quite the show of appreciation and support for the long-time educator.—Staff Photos by Barbara King
Kylan Higgs


Members of the Jennings County School Corporation utilized the recently popular trend of drive-by parades to celebrate the retirement of three of its veteran employees.

Floyd Bowman, Amber Fields and Susan Harding were all honored for their decades of service to the Jennings County school system on Friday, June 5. Though social distancing restrictions-put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19-are slowly being lifted, the school corporation had to keep in mind the current requirements when deciding how best to celebrate their coworkers.

A drive-by is an alternative to traditional standards of celebrating to maintain the seemingly ever-changing requirements of social distancing. The goal of a drive-by is to have a number of loved ones drive their vehicles through a short route for the person they are celebrating to see and, maybe, even stop and have a brief conversation from six feet away. Personalized signs accompanied by hooting and hollering are optional. It isn't necessarily conventional, but the thought and good-intent is definitely felt.

On this occasion, well-wishers could drive their vehicles around the backside of central office located on West Main Street. The alley between the main building and a storage building, lovingly dubbed "Amber Way," was where the vehicles could pull up and greet the retirees. The storage building's garage doors were open to reveal three tables laden with decorations for Floyd, Amber and Susan, who also got their own , personalized rocking chair with a plate at the top engraved with their name and years of service. Members of JCSC offered ice-cream drumsticks and cookies-two of Amber's favorite snacks-to anyone who attended the event.

Floyd Bowman felt right at home during the parade. He was honored in May upon his retirement as principal at Brush Creek School. For several hours, a steady stream of automobiles filled with kids and parents drove by the front of the school to wish him well.

The Plain Dealer & Sun deferred running photos and pictures of the event until after the primary election since Bowman was running for the Democrat nomination for the District 1 Commissioner slot.

Most residents are familiar with Floyd, as he has held several positions throughout his 41 years in the Jennings County School System. He was a science teacher, assistant principal and principal at Jennings County Middle School. He worked in the attendance office at the high school for a year and, in his last job, was principal at Brush Creek Elementary for seven years.

"I'll miss the kids," Bowman said about what he will miss the most after retiring. However, he is looking forward to spending more time with his four grandkids. The additional time may also be useful in regards to campaigning for the upcoming fall election.

That sentiment - missing the people you work with - was shared by the other honorees at the recent parade for the three school employees.

Amber Fields said she is going to miss her friends and coworkers the most, too, after she retires. "It doesn't feel real yet," she admitted. Amber is retiring after 20 years working at JCSC. She was very appreciative of the drive-by celebration and excited to see her two favorite snacks being served to guests!

"It's really nice we could do it together," Susan Harding, who worked at JCSC for 22 years, said of the party. Susan said she, Floyd and Amber have all worked together for years and is happy that they got to celebrate their retirement together.





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