Joe's Job: School Crossing Guard

Joe Flanagan trained at the Williams School in Norfolk.

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- Deacon Dickens is a fixture at The Williams School in Ghent and I was there to see what it takes to do his job as a school crossing guard. 

Especially in the month of February, when the weather can get real nasty.  On this day it was mildly nasty.  Rainy and chilly but doable.  For the 80-year-old, the children are what keep him going.

"They are my medicine," he said.

Deacon works with Carlton Riddick who has been a school crossing guard for over 30 years.  Like Deacon, Carlton says it's all about the students and keeping them safe.

At The Williams School these two have a shift that really goes all day long. The school owns a building across the street so there is traffic constantly coming and going in this section of Ghent.

"We got to get in position for the next wave of students, it really is pretty steady about every half hour.  So you can't wander too far," said Riddick.

On this day we even noticed that Deacon Dickens was wearing a battery operated jacket They found a way to get a heated jacket for him since he is recovering from a bout with pneumonia.

He showed me how to grab the stop sign and stand in the middle of the crosswalk and let traffic know that students are crossing.

"Oh, Deacon is very valuable. I mean he's not just crossing the students he's actually a life mentor for many of our students. A lot of our alums when they come back for the reunions look to find Deacon because they had so many great conversations with him when they were here," said assistant head of schools Melanie Bird.

Of course I had to ask Deacon how he thought I would do working with him. "Oh you would do quite well. Probably better than I do it, a ha ha ha," he laughed.


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