ASHLAND, Va. -- A woman stumbled upon a rich family history when she was on a quest to fulfill a promise she made to a relative more than 30 years ago.
The town of Ashland now celebrates Pamela Hazelwood's great-grandfather for his work.
Pamela couldn't be more proud to have completed the task of researching her family history to organize a family reunion. She started looking into the stories she had heard through the years about her great grandfather Lucian Hunter.
"They used to talk about it. I heard my aunts talk about him and they said the Hunters had the first bus to provide transportation for children so that's what I started researching," Pamela said.
Hazelwood said she started digging into Hanover School Board records. For months, she searched page by page until she found information confirming the story that her great grandfather purchased the first school bus that provided transportation for Black students.
It was a monumental accomplishment in those days when Black children were not allowed to ride on school buses.
"Great-grandfather, he was the first to purchase and provide transportation but he actually never drove the bus. My grandfather Clarence Hunter drove the bus," Pamela said.
It became a family affair when Hazelwood's four uncles began sharing driving duties, carrying students to the negro training center so they could get an education. It's a family history that Pamela is proud of. Sadly, it's information she was never able to share with her great aunt who passed away.
However, his legacy lives on. Pamela is proud of a historical marker that was erected along Route 1 in Ashland a few years ago.
Pamela has always been inspired by her great-grandfather and grandfather. She even started the Lucian Hunter Foundation of Hope, a nonprofit that does outreach in the community.
"We do a bus driver celebration every year in October. We invite bus drivers from the whole state of Virginia and give them flags, sit down dinner, celebrate them with awards," Pamela said.
Pamela is carrying on her family legacy of serving others, something she knows her loved ones would have wanted her to do.