Slain bus driver remembered as hero one year later - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Slain bus driver remembered as hero one year later

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"Chuck was a normal man," says his wife Jan Poland. "He was not perfect, but he was perfect for me." "Chuck was a normal man," says his wife Jan Poland. "He was not perfect, but he was perfect for me."
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MIDLAND CITY, AL (WSFA) -

As many people are reflecting on the one-year anniversary of the Midland City crisis, one family is still trying to learn to live without their loved one. Charles Poland was killed protecting the children on his bus.

"Chuck was a normal man," says his wife Jan Poland. "He was not perfect, but he was perfect for me."

Perfect for 43 years, 3 months and 26 days -- the amount of time Jan Poland had with the love of her life.

"We had a deep abiding love for each other," Jan Poland said. "We loved writing love notes to each other and we did until the time I lost him."

She lost her husband Jan. 29, 2013 when a disturbed man, Jimmie Lee Dykes, got on Poland's bus and shot and killed him. Mr. Poland is considered a hero putting his life on the line to save the children aboard his bus.

"I don't know the moments there that happened, but I don't think he would have done anything else. That was just his makeup," Jan Poland said. "What was meant for evil, good came out of that and that was the Lord intervening and helping us through it."

Even still, a year later the heartache and pain linger.

"When my eyes wake up in the morning I say thank you Lord for allowing me to see one day. When I lay down at night, I say thank you Lord for letting me see the end of your day and in the morning I say I'm one day closer to seeing daddy again," said Lydia Hancock, Charles Poland's daughter.

Instead of focusing on the loss, Jan Poland and her children focus on the good times, the precious memories they still have and cling to every day.

"Y'all know just a small portion of what daddy was like," Hancock said.

Jan Poland chimed in saying "he was a man who could about do what he set his mind to. He was a man who loved God and his country and his family."

For Charles Poland's wife, she tries to use her husband's life and sacrifice as a lesson for all; never let a day go by that you don't tell the ones you love how you truly feel.

"Because you never know if it will be your last chance to do it," Jan Poland said. "True love, devotion, affection; apply it to your life, you get results. And oh do I have results, 43 years of a man named Charles Poland."

We asked Jan Poland how her husband would feel now about Ethan and the rest of his children on the bus. She says he would be proud that he is soaring in heaven with the knowledge of the strides each child has made this past year.

A portion of U.S. Highway 231 is now dedicated to Poland and his heroic actions. It's now called the Charles Poland Jr Memorial Highway.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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