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William "Porky" Den Hartog of Eddyville began driving early in his teen years as an active member of the Eddyville Fire Department: William "Porky" Den Hartog (1931-2011)

Name:
William "Porky" Den Hartog (1931-2011)
Transportation Mode:
Auto
Company/ Affiliation:
Eddyville Community School District
Era:
Post-1920s
Gender:
Male

William “Porky” Den Hartog ---- William “Porky” Den Hartog of Eddyville began driving early in his teen years as an active member of the Eddyville Fire Department. He was a volunteer for the department for many years and was instrumental in getting the first rescue unit added to the fire department.

In 1949 straight out of high school he started driving a logging truck for Comstock saw mill and continued to drive for them into the late 1950’s. While working for Comstock Porky loved to tell the story about hauling logs from the timber area of what is now Merle Hay Mall. There were two stop lights on the two lane highway in the area of A & E Dairy and the state fair grounds. A city cop had been tailing the log truck for many trips when he was loaded with logs. One time Porky decided he would stop when the light changed yellow.  In doing so the trailer went up and the cop car ended up under the trailer. From then on Porky had a personal escort out of Des Moines.

Porky soon started farming and in the mid 1970’s he became a school bus driver for the Eddyville Community School District. He would have four trips each day to pick up and deliver the morning kindergarten students, do the same for the afternoon group and then drive the Activity Bus at 5:30 pm. Soon he started hauling the teams to away games as well as classes going on field trips and band trips to Chicago and Kansas City. Where ever they went Porky was the lead bus; he always knew where to go. The kids knew they could count on him and his side kick, his wife Evelyn to make for a fun trip.

For 25 years Porky dedicated his days, nights and weekends to the students of Eddyville Community School District as a bus driver. The school honored him with a special ceremony when he retired. They selected him to share with the public the history of the school and community and how it had changed over the years. 

Some of Porky’s greatest joys came through the students. He would come home at night and say did you know this or that with a little laugh. Such as the little kindergartener that brought the daily paper on the bus and sat right behind the driver’s seat and read him the paper each day. Another time a tragedy was prevented on a trip when something happened to the gear shift under the floor plate, but thank goodness another driver Gene Davis was on the bus. He got the floor plate off and sat on the floor and shifted while Porky drove. That day the kids were only a few minutes late, but they arrived safely. Safety was a priority for him and bus inspections by the Iowa State Patrol were always a pleasure to complete.

Joe Overton, band director at Eddyville Blakesburg Fremont High School in an email said, “Wow…it is awesome you are honoring Porky. He was a dear wonderful man that drove our band on many many trips. Unfortunately I have to be at the Iowa Bandmasters Convention that day. Please give my congratulations to his family. He was a truly kind and caring person that was always there for the kids. I have so many memories of him. The EBFHS band was honored to have him help us for many years.”  

Porky and Evelyn were blessed with twins Scott and Patricia, but had many kids and cared for each of them. As you can tell Porky impacted a lot of students with his great sense of humor and his ability to tell a good story or joke to brighten up a person’s day while making riding the bus everyday enjoyable. You are also now a friend of his and remember he will always be Porky to family and friends.

 With great honor we recognize Porky Den Hartog as a Hero by Example for his contribution as a school bus driver for twenty five years. Accepting in his honor and on behalf of his family is grand-daughter Ashley Conrad and grandsons Eli and Alex Conrad

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