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Students welcome bus driver home after he was hospitalized with COVID-19 for 266 days

Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 11:03 AM EDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KMBC) – A bus driver in Missouri is home after battling COVID-19 in the hospital for almost nine months.

When it was time for someone to drive Phil Clevenger home, some kids who are usually passengers made the journey special.

Phil Clevenger checked out of St. Luke’s Hospital in Overland Park after a 266-day stay battling COVID-19. He had been there since Jan. 1.

“There’s no words to express how you feel,” his mother, Beverly Clevenger, said about his release.

His fellow bus drivers took on his routes and hoped for the best.

“It’s like having a brother gone. There were times that, you know, all we can do is pray,” said fellow bus driver Tomme Sue Feil.

So, with his bus front and center, he got a welcome home from the entire town cheering him on along the way.

“It’s a little bit emotional, just overwhelming – more than I realized,” Phil Clevenger said. “It’s tough. I wouldn’t do it again.”

Phil Clevenger would, however, like to drive a school bus again someday.

“He loves those kids,” his mother said.

And they love him right back.

Phil Clevenger says community support and motivation helped him beat COVID-19.

Copyright 2021 KMBC via CNN Newsource. All rights reserved.