In the midst of a large snowstorm—one of several to blast Ponoka in the last few weeks— Wolf Creek Public School’s new transportation manager was welcomed to his job.
“It was interesting to say the least,” said John Blood of his first day, Dec. 2.
Blood, who came to Alberta from the Halifax area, is used to dealing with huge amounts of snow and buses. For 13 years, Blood worked for Halifax’s metro transit; as a driver for seven years, a supervisor for two and the rest as manager.
“I was used to dealing with that in Nova Scotia,” said Blood. “Most of the time in the city of Halifax, the buses were just delayed.”
When action stemming from snowstorm needed to be taken, he would report to a supervisor, who in turn would report to the city’s mayor and a decision would be made.
With the snow wreaking havoc on his first day, the buses ran on Dec. 2. “The buses ran, and due to the snow, weather and road conditions it was decided to end school early and get all the kids and drivers home (during) daylight.”
Before moving to Canada and working for the City of Halifax, Blood spent 20 years in England’s Royal Air Force. During the year he spent in Goose Bay, 1984 to 1985, Blood met his future wife. “I went back to the UK and we kept in touch.”
Eventually she moved to Wales, where he was based at the time, and they were married. After spending time in Germany and Italy and then back in the UK, the couple with their two children relocated to just outside Halifax.
“I did some long haul trucking down the east coast down to the States,” said Blood. He also started and owned his own printing business for one year and drove a limousine.
Four years after the move, he started with city transit, which he thoroughly enjoyed. “You’re kind of your own boss. I like mixing with people. It was rewarding picking people up every day.”
Blood says it was many of the same people each day and he got to know them and experience the diversity of people within the city.
When his children were younger, working as a driver suited him better because of the schedule and the family time it allowed for. But as they grew into teenagers being home on the weekends wasn’t as important.
Blood sat in a supervisor position for a six-month trial, which became a permanent position. “From there I was encouraged for the management position.”
In 2013 both of Blood’s children moved to Alberta. “Both the wife and I kind of missed them.”
After he and his wife moved to Alberta, Blood was interviewed for positions in southern Alberta and Red Deer. It was in one of Lacombe’s newspapers that he saw the position advertised for the school division. “It was basically the same thing I’d been doing . . . Except instead of city buses, it was school buses.”
When he isn’t dealing with Alberta’s consistently shifting weather, Blood’s been spending his time getting to know the bus drivers, and in the new year he’ll begin getting to know the school principals.