EDWARD RAY DAY CELEBRATED ANNUALLY ON FEBRUARY 26 IN CHOWCHILLA
Thursday, July 15, 1976 was pretty much another summer day as pretty much every summer day goes in the Central Valley of California. But by the afternoon, the day turned into the DARKEST day ever for the communities of Dairyland and Chowchilla. Across America there were ongoing month-long celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of its founding on July 4, 1776. But as night fell on July 15 the celebrations stopped. There was but one news item and one headline that captured the attention of the nation on their televisions and their radios, and in their newspapers.
DAIRYLAND SCHOOL BUS GONE, 26 CHILDREN VANISH
A local school bus with 26 children ages 5 to 14 years along with the bus driver had disappeared.
The details of entire story can readily be found online with just a little research. However, nearly 30 hours later, on July 17, Dairyland and Chowchilla rejoiced in the BEST day ever when it was learned that the 26 children and their bus driver walked up to a night watchman at a rock quarry in Livermore, California, 100 miles away, all safe and secure.
That bus driver, Mr. Edward Ray, became a HERO, not just here in our local communities of Dairyland and Chowchilla, but across the nation. But, contrary to his nature, he did not act the hero and was embarrassed by the attention thrust upon him. Edward Ray, or just Edward, as the kids knew him, NOT Mr. Ray, was a private, simple hard-working man. He got caught up in a bad situation that July summer day and did his best to take care of the kids in his charge. That’s just what he did. But he was still a HERO.
There are two kinds of heroes.
Heroes who shine in the face of great adversity, who perform an amazing feat in a difficult situation.
And heroes who live among us, who do their work unceremoniously, unnoticed by many of us, but who make a difference in the lives of others.
Edward Ray was both kinds of heroes.