- Associated Press - Thursday, December 1, 2016

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - A veteran school crossing guard in Rapid City is hanging up his fluorescent vest for the last time as he retires with pride that no child was ever injured while he protected them from traffic.

Wilson Elementary School crossing guard Paul Priest, 90, has helped children cross the street countless of times over the past 25 years, the Rapid City Journal (https://bit.ly/2gNlbU3 ) reported.

“Right now, it’s just about as big a battle getting those kids across the busiest roadway in Rapid City as it was getting those soldiers across that bridge in Germany so many years ago,” Priest said, chuckling. “But you’ve got to know when it’s time to go.”

Priest fell while on the job three weeks ago, hitting his head against the curb and injuring a hand. The incident made him decide it was time to let someone younger take the job.

“In a way, I feel I’m letting these kids down,” he said, “but hey, I don’t have to get up at 5 in the morning to get over there at 7:30 to stand in weather like I did this morning.”

Priest said that during his tenure, he’s been sworn at and hit by bumpers of passing cars. He has also thrown his stop sign at speeders who failed to yield.

“It’s not big money being a crossing guard, but it’s a job if you like to do it,” he said. “For me, it was about the kids and having some extra money, and it paid for a few meals out.”

Priest was drafted to into the U.S. Army at age 17 during World War II.


Information from: Rapid City Journal, https://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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