WHEELING - Corey Eller is the father of two daughters and he knows the importance of keeping children safe as they travel to and from school each day.
For seven years, Eller has been working as the delivery manager at Lowe's in Wheeling. He also is known for his skills in his woodworking shop where he has been crafting guitars for customers for many years. However, when Ohio County school bus operator Liz Finsley approached Lowe's seeking a donation to build a child-size car for a school bus safety program, Eller was more than happy to step forward.
Lowe's donated all Eller needed to build a motorized, wooden car in his home shop for the Ohio County Schools' Transportation Department. The blue and white car is patterned after a NASCAR racing vehicle and bears NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson's familiar No. 43 and the Lowe's logo.
Photo by Heather Ziegler
Corey Eller, delivery manager at Lowe’s in Wheeling, center, is presented a plaque in appreciation for his work building a wooden car that Ohio County school bus drivers are pairing with Buster the School Bus for safety programs. Shown with Eller are bus drivers Liz Finsley, left and Ken Siburt, right. Lowe’s also was honored with a plaque for their contributions.
"I donated all my time. I enjoyed building it. School bus safety is and should be a concern for everyone," said Eller, whose daughters include Willow, 10, and Cricket, 7.
The car will be paired with the well-known Buster the School Bus, a child-sized replica of a school bus, which is used as a teaching tool for students regarding safety on and off a school bus. Several of the transportation department's bus drivers spend time taking Buster, and now the new car, to the schools, festivals and other events geared toward children.
Finsley said Buster has flashing lights and the safety arm that extends in front of the bus that shows children how to walk to and from a bus in a safe manner. In recent years, Ohio County school bus drivers have experienced some close calls after motorists failed to stop for school buses loading and unloading students.
The bus drivers, with the blessing of school administrators, have taken to educating the driving public, too, about the laws and common sense safety matters.
"We really appreciate what Corey and Lowe's have done for us," Finsley said. "All we care about is keeping the kids safe."
The Lowe's model car also bears many stickers that tout the school system, its drivers, local businesses. One sticker was placed on the car in memory of bus driver Allan "Smooth" Kloss who died in 2011.