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Back to school means back to work for area crossing guards

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 10:52 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 2, 2021 at 3:14 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - With kids back in class, drivers in Wausau now have familiar sights on weekday mornings and afternoons with crossing guards perched at busy intersections throughout the city helping kids cross the road safely.

“When I first started, I thought, ‘Man, that’s the busiest corner in town.’ Now I wouldn’t give it up for anything,” said Jerry Brummond, a 10-year veteran who helps kids get to John Muir Middle School at the intersection of South 12th Avenue and Stewart Avenue. “We try and keep them safe.”

That’s the motto at any of the intersections where you’ll see the workers, dressed in neon, stop signs in hand.

“It’s a busy corner,” explained first-year crossing guard Connie Vesely when talking about her location, North 6th Avenue and West Bridge near Grant Elementary School and the St. Anne Catholic Parish. “We just need people to slow down.”

“Sometimes the traffic doesn’t do what you want it to do,” added the guard standing across the road from Vesely, David Krause. He’s been working as a crossing guard for five years.

While it’s a job that helps them stay busy in the early mornings and afternoons, all three had a similar answer when asked what motivated them to sign up for the gig-- the kids.

“It’s great,” Brummond said. “When I go home after a shift, I feel like I’ve accomplished getting these kids to school. When they go home at night, I feel, ‘Well, I’ll see them tomorrow morning.’”

That dedication is appreciated by parents Joe and Katie Hagenbucher who helped their oldest son, Theo, walk to his first day of classes.

“If he were to be older, he may very well come... walk by himself,” Katie said. “Knowing that these individuals are here keeping them safe is so important as a parent.”

Others walking their kids to school echoed that sentiment, as did Deputy Chief Matthew Barnes with the Wausau Police Department.

“In order to have a safe and successful community it’s important to get our kids to school safely and crossing guards help ensure that,” Deputy Chief Barnes said. “We’ve always appreciated having people in our community be willing to step up and help our kids get to school safely.”

According to Brummond, Wausau currently has 14 active crossing guards and some substitutes. He encourages interested to apply for an open position. You can do so on the ACMS website here.

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