By Victor Blackwell (WDHN)-Hundreds of friends, relatives and strangers listened to excerpts from letters written by children - the children 66-year-old bus driver, Charles Poland drove to school everyday.
Teachers arrived on yellow buses adorned with black bows to honor the friend they called 'Chuck.'
He just liked simple things, but I can tell you this word used to described Chuck... and that word was hero.
Poland was driving his usual route in Midland City, Alabama, Tuesday when authorities say this man - Jimmy Lee Dykes - forced his way onto the bus with a gun and demanded to take two of the 22 children on board.
Poland refused. Deputies say Dykes killed him and snatched a 5-year-old boy.
Local, state and federal authorities have been working around the clock to free the boy from a bunker.
A heater and electric blanket keep them warm but Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson won't say if Dykes has access to a television or radio.
He's also allowed us to provide coloring books, medication, toys. I want to thank him for taking care of our child.
Negotiators have said little about their communications with Dykes but neighbors are talking.
He would walk up and down that dirt road sometimes with his gun, sometimes he'd be working on the bunker out there. Now we didn't know what it was then.
Michelle Riley hands out ribbons at nightly vigils to show respect for the man who gave his life to protect the children and support for the child who's being held hostage underground.
He's coming out, there's no doubt in my mind, I said Wednesday, I was driving to work, and I just had a peace come over me, from the top of my head to the tip of my big toe, he's coming out... he's coming out.
WLTZ NBC 38
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