Alburnett softball alumni give back to longtime bus driver Don Williams

Published: Sep. 19, 2021 at 11:11 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - ‘Do it for Don.’ That was written on posters and even the fence of the Alburnett softball field during their alumni game.

“He was a huge part of our memories of being a Pirate,” explained 2016 graduate Taylor Huber. “I think of my softball memories and he’s always in them,” she added.

For Don Williams, he thought the spotlight should be on the former Pirates.

“It’s hard for me to accept because it shouldn’t be for me, it should be for the girls,” said Williams. “That’s how I ended up being here in the first place.”

Instead of alumni getting together at the Martin Complex to play a game of softball, they decided to make the event a fundraiser for Williams who was recently diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

“When I’ve been telling people about this event that don’t know Don, I’ve said that he’s more than just a bus driver. He’s so much more than that to all of us,” said Huber.

Along with a bake sale and a silent auction, graduates from the most recent class in 2021 to 2003 made sure they made it out for the evening.

“I mean he’s just a smiley guy. Always has open arms to anybody and everybody whenever you see him,” said 2003 graduate Nikki Gahring. “We just wanted to do a special thing for him because he’s been a special guy to us for forever.”

Many said it was important to them to support Don who is a constant bright spot in the program and one the softball team’s biggest supporters.

Williams drove the bus for over 40 years. He said he never wanted to coach. He simply enjoyed making somebody else’s day better.

“I had strictly been substitute and I drove routes,” explained Williams. “I took kids home, went and got kids in the morning, brought them to school and drove activity routes. The thing that made it so much fun is that everyone is so respectful, courteous and kind,” he added.

He even expanded his driving duties beyond Alburnett.

“I knew him from Alburnett and then when I was also coaching at Kirkwood, they were looking for a bus driver to drive the softball team to games there. I reached out to Don and Don is a yes guy. He always says yes, so he said I’ll sub and see how it goes. That was 7 years ago and he’s still doing it now,” said Gahring.

For someone so selfless, players wanted to make sure they returned the favor for someone who made their high school experience a memorable one.

Williams shared he will be having surgery in a few days for his cancer.

Copyright 2021 KCRG. All rights reserved.