Leaving a legacy of ‘safety first’ service

Crossing guard who became friendly figure on village corners steps down after 28-year career

A STRONG SENSE of volunteerism motivated Cindy Douglas to serve as a crossing guard for nearly three decades. Douglas completed her 28th and final year on the job June 1. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
JOE POIRIER
Ozaukee Press Staff

After nearly three decades of ushering students to and from school, Cindy Douglas considers her time as a crossing guard in Saukville well spent as a community volunteer.

“I’ve met so many people over the years. Some of the kids that have graduated a number of years ago still come back, and they ask, ‘Do you still remember me?’” Douglas said.

“I can say that I am lucky to have been the crossing guard for some of the children of those kids who are now in their 20s and 30s.”

On June 1, Douglas finished up her duties at her post on the corner of South Mill Street and Highway 33 where she spent the last several years of her 28-year career.

She said her civic duty stems from her father Reuben Kertscher, who was the first lieutenant for the village’s police department from the 1960s to mid-1970s.

“My dad started out as the village constable until they brought on the chief of police,” Douglas said.

“I had the calling to do some public service because I was born and raised with that sense of duty for your community. My dad always wanted to help people, and I guess that rubbed off on me, and it was natural for me to do this.”

Douglas began as a substitute crossing guard at the corner of East Clay and South Main streets right outside her former home. At the time, she was responsible for assisting Saukville Elementary School students and several years later Ozaukee Christian School opened in the area.

“Once my two boys were in school full time, it quickly turned into a more permanent position,” Douglas said. “It was right outside my house, and I was working the corner every day.”

When she wasn’t busy working a split shift, Douglas found time to fill in as a volunteer for the food services department of Port Washington-Saukville School District.    

Douglas said her experience as an amateur radio emergency-services operator helped her when she switched posts in 2006 to Highway 33 and South Main Street.

“It can be a nasty corner, and I’ve had some harrowing experiences,” she said. “We’re trained as an emergency management group how to handle traffic during an emergency, so I felt confident using my whistle and light wand.” 

Douglas said she never used a stop sign because the wind would render it useless.

Through the years, she’s seen a number of close calls but only witnessed one accident that occurred on Highway 33 and South Mill Street in the fall of 2015.

“It was raining, and the driver was in a hurry and turned into the wrong lane and knocked a child over on a bike,” she said. “It could have been a lot worse, but luckily the child was OK.”

More often than not, Douglas found herself helping children who didn’t want to go to school.

“I had to play mom once in awhile,” she said. “If you see a child walking down the road with a pout on their face and crying, you had to tap into your inner psychologist to make the kids go to school happy. I enjoyed doing that because I know how kids are.”

Douglas said seeing the youngsters every day kept her on the job even after she moved to the Town of Grafton in 2004.

“Since I moved to Grafton, I’ve been driving to and from Saukville four times a day,” she said. “My job kept me connected to Saukville, and that’s why I kept at it.”

Douglas still considers Saukville to be her home because she was born and raised in the village, and in 1984 she was named citizen of the year by the Chamber of Commerce for her work with the Saukville’s Talk of the Town newsletter.

“I guess I was a super volunteer,” Douglas said. “My motivation has always been the kids because I was concerned about them and I knew they needed someone to get them to school safe.”

Category:

Feedback:

Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494
 

CONNECT


User login