Crossing Guardian: Belle Hall Elementary's Cathy Swink a friend to generations
MOUNT PLEASANT (WCIV) —
Her feet have been cemented in the same spot — 25 minutes a day, five days a week, roughly 10 months a year, for nearly 20 years. And it doesn’t pay a dime.
For Cathy Swink, a crossing guard at Belle Hall Elementary, the payload is God’s greatest gift: our children.
She has made it her mission to keep them safe. All of them, and there have been tens of thousands. For that reason, she’s this month’s Jefferson Award winner.
"Hey buddy! You doing all right this morning? You have a good day, have a good weekend. Come on sweety," Swink says to one of dozens of students walking her path.
For two decades, she’s remained as colorful as the backpacks slung over the shoulders of the students.
"Wooo! How u doing? Was yesterday a great day? Today’s gonna be even better,” said Swink to a little girl no older than 10.
She strikes just the right chord with the kids, knows most by name, and holds tight to the smallest of details.
"How is that snaggle tooth ? Did we lose the other one? It’s getting closer.” Swink said to a young boy dangling another loose tooth.
Cathy Swink is more than a friend of Belle Hall, and more than than a one woman welcoming committee. She is more than than a traffic cop. She is an institution, and a bright spot each and every morning for students and parents alike.
And yes. she is generational. Cathy says there are parents of current Belle Hall students who she helped cross the street when they were students years ago.
"Good morning on this fabulous Friday," Swink bellows to anyone that will listen.
Little gets by her, but on a chilly January morning, ABC News 4 did by surprising her with this month's Jefferson Award.
As Cathy walked into the Belle Hall library, she was surprised to be greeted by dozens of kids there to announce her award -- kids she considers family.
“It kind of becomes a part of you with parents and student and teachers and everyone who works here. It is like a big family,” said Swink.
And what better way to protect and serve family, than how she does each and every day.
"I get payment everyday with students and parents, and I get to interact with friends who still work here,” said Swink.