Saint Francis driver delivers children and hope

Bill Troester began driving for the Saint Francis Transportation department just over a year ago, leaving a “mind-numbing” job driving an airport shuttle bus to begin driving children throughout Kansas.

“It’s been impactful. It’s been a godsend to me,” Bill said.

Then he shared why this position has touched his heart so strongly.

“I spent my adolescence as a juvenile delinquent and later on went on to become an alcoholic and drug addict,” Bill said. “I’ve been clean and sober for about 24 years. Now when I see young people starting to tread down the road I went down, I do my best to let them know that is a nowhere road.

“I let them know that God gives us all the drugs we need at birth – adrenaline, serotonin, endorphins – all you have to do is know how to trigger them,” he added.

Bill isn’t shy about sharing his personal story. He hopes his words and experiences can affect the children he drives, many of whom ask him if they can request Bill to drive them again.

“I do have regulars that just love me to death. I love all of them like my own grandkids. I’m here more to help them and steer them down the right road,” he said, adding like a true grandparent, “Most of them are so intelligent, and so handsome and beautiful, the world is their oyster.”

The thought, Bill said, of them throwing away all that beauty and opportunity – “like I did” – terrifies Bill.

“The easy way is not always the best way,” he said. “The easy way is to just follow the crowd and stay in trouble. It takes real effort and a lot of work to do things the right way, but it always pays off in the end.”

And he knows that a single word of encouragement or a moment of connection can very well save a child’s life.

Bill said he tries to read the child to determine if he or she wants to talk. If they’re sad or depressed and don’t feel like talking, he never pushes. He keeps a lot of different kinds of music on his Pandora (none of that gangsta rap, he said, adding that he has Christian rap) so they can connect that way.

Bill relates to some of the hard roads the children being served at Saint Francis are following, and he is glad that his own experiences can now help others.

He’ll continue to work with the kids to connect in any way that can be helpful, Bill said. He’s so far had the honor of taking two children home for good, which is the “ultimate warm and fuzzy feeling.” (See, below, the letter he wrote about the experience.)

The work doesn’t come without hardships. Taking children away from their parents after a visit is heart wrenching, he said, especially when the children are little ones. But ultimately, any heartache is worth it.

“The work I do sustains my heart because for the first time in my life, I truly feel like I’m doing God’s work by having a part in the lives of these children,” Bill said. “I feel as though I’m making a difference in a world that needs it so desperately.”

A letter from the heart 

Transportation team member Bill Troester sent this letter to his co-workers in October, highlighting a beautiful part of his job. 

Good morning team!

This past Friday, I was blessed to be selected as the driver to deliver the S babies back into the waiting arms of their parents for good. In all my almost 60 years here on planet Earth, outside of the birth of my own children, I’ve never been so overwhelmed with happiness! Being there to witness the closing of our Circle of Hope for that family was an experience that I’ll take to the grave. And one I hope to repeat over and over again. Seeing the tears stream down their Daddy’s face when they jumped into his arms and hearing him tell them that they’ll never have to leave again caused my own tears to well up. Then when their Mama came outside in tears with lots of balloons for the welcome home celebration, this big man cried along with them. I’m so proud to be a part of this team! I just want you all to know that it’s you that made this happen for me and that I love y’all for it.

Thanks and have a great day!

Bill Troester Sr.

Transport Driver

Picture of Beth Cormack
Beth Cormack

Beth is the project manager for the Saint Francis Ministries Marketing and Communications team.

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