EL PASO, Texas -- The Ysleta Independent School District is mourning the loss of a bus driver after he suddenly had a heart attack on a bus full of elementary students last week.
Marine Corps veteran Javier Herrera, 45, was in front of Desertaire Elementary School in northeast El Paso when he had the heart attack last Thursday. He was dropping the kids off at school at the time.
The kids inside the bus rushed into action, opened the bus door and screamed for help.
Herrera's friend and supervisor Luis Valdez got there when Herrera was receiving CPR. Javier was taken to the hospital where he later died.
"We talked a lot and I got to talk to him that morning," Valdez said in tears. "He'll be greatly missed by everyone here."
Several parents messaged ABC-7 with kind words about Herrera.
""He was a great bus driver and did treat all the kids like his own. He truly was an angel. He made sure the kids arrived to school safely until his last breath. That's something I will always be grateful and thankful for, because of him my kids are safe," said one message.
Another parent wrote that her daughter "referred to him as the lollipop man because he always gave the students lollipops. We really lost a good one."
Yet another parent said, "My little one doesn't know he has passed because she really took it (the incident) hard."
Herrera left behind several children. A GoFundMe account is set up to help with funeral expenses.
Herrera's funeral is set for Friday at 9 a.m. at Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church. A vigil is set for Saturday at noon at North Skies Park.