The gift of reading: DCPS bus driver donates funds for students to participate in book fair

Daviess County Public Schools bus driver Mike Pate stands in front of his bus at the DCPS Bus Garage and Transportation Department. Pate donated $1,000 so more than 160 students at East View Elementary School were able to receive two books each.

Daviess County Public Schools bus driver Mike Pate believes in education and knows that reading is important.

Pate, who retired after a 32-year career in the postal service before coming to work for the county schools district in March, knows this year has been difficult for many families.

One morning on the way to school, he overheard some students at the East View Elementary School discuss the school’s book fair. Some of the students were unable to purchase books because their parents didn’t have the money.

That impacted him deeply.

“My dad struggled to support us the whole time so I knew how these kids felt,” Pate said. “So I talked to the school and donated some money so that anybody that hadn’t been able to go to the book fair could go get some books.”

Through Pate’s donation of $1,000, more than 160 students at the school were able to receive two books.

LeVon Cozart, EVES guidance counselor, said the donation was “an amazing act of kindness.”

“He believes in education and wanted to give kids an opportunity to get a book,” Cozart said. “I let the kids know Mr. Mike bought their books because they are important and cares for them, but he did not do this for publicity.”

She said the day Pate came to talk with her about the donation, he didn’t even provide his name.

DCPS Transportation Coordinator Grady Cooper said Pate has a commitment and enthusiasm as a new driver.

“This is just an amazing story about how he saw a need and filled it, showing how deeply he feels for the bigger picture of working with children,” Cooper said.

Pate, reflecting on his long career with the U.S. Postal Service, said that he still is making deliveries, “but what I’m delivering now is much more important.”

He has always heard that with a book, a reader can go anywhere, and he hopes that is one of the lessons the EVES students learn from his gift, along with another one.

“One person may not be able to do it all, but if we contribute and give what we can, it is going to make a difference,” he said.

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

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