ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV.com) - Bill Goodbread joined the Marines right after graduating from college.
“I decided I wanted to serve my country, and at that point in 1967, I felt that it was better to, not to sound political, fight communism over there than over here, and so and I felt if I was going to join I wanted to join the best, and frankly, I feel that Marine Corps is the best, and so I joined the Marine Corps out of college,” said Goodbread.
After graduating, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and went overseas to serve in Vietnam for a 13-month tour. He served as a combat engineer creating landing zones for infantry, but towards the end of his tour, he helped go into villages to work with American doctors to provide medical care to the people of Vietnam.
“It was great, I mean I think it certainly made you appreciate what you left back home. They live in a different population, a different lifestyle than we do. But they seemed very happy for our introduction, if you will, they were happy to have their kids taken care of,” said Goodbread.
After his tour was over, he stayed in the Marine reserves for nine more years, at one point serving in a civil affairs post in Washington DC. He said about his time there that they “developed strategies and protocols that I'm sure are probably still in use today, in Iraq and Afghanistan, in dealing with people, so we wrote the protocols and the strategies for dealing with people on a regular basis, if you will.”
After retiring and living back in St. Louis, he was looking for something to do and a friend made a suggestion. As Goodbread described, “so a friend said, ‘Why don't you go work for Parkway as a bus driver” and I said ‘Really? and that was 13 years ago, I’ve been with Parkway now for 13 years.”
He credits his military training for influencing how he runs his bus.
”I run a fairly tight bus as you might imagine,” said Goodbread, “But I greet each and every kid by their name, and I know for a fact they appreciate that because I have seen some of them in restaurants. before the virus and get seen in restaurants, and they would say, ‘Oh it's Mr. Bill,’ and I say, ‘Oh it's Mary.’ and they would say to my wife, ‘He always knew our names.”
Goodbread’s efforts have not gone unnoticed by parents as he was recently honored with a Light of Parkway Award.
“I was very surprised, I received the Light of Parkway Award, an anonymous person wrote me up with a very wonderful nomination. I was flattered and honored and humbled by being recognized,” he said.