CHEBOYGAN, Mich. (AP) — Nearly two dozen school buses drove past the northern Michigan home of a beloved driver who died from COVID-19.

It was a surprise tribute for Dale Wiersum's wife. He was a driver for seven years in Cheboygan, a rural district near the tip of the Lower Peninsula where buses play a critical role in getting kids to school.

"He was a friend first,” co-worker Demi Posh said. “Always giving, thoughtful, generous, sincere. There’s not enough words to describe what kind of man Dale was. Everybody went before him. Always.”

His wife, Karen Wiersum, was overwhelmed when she saw the buses Tuesday.

“I’m shocked. It was wonderful to have all those buses come through,” she told 9&10 News.

Karen was also given a Navy flag to honor Dale, who was a 69-year-old veteran. He died Dec. 6.

“All of the drivers go along with him wonderfully,” Cheboygan transportation director Tammy Cage said. "He has a lot of friends and, well, family — our bus garage family.”