CLEARWATER, Fla. - A new award honoring school crossing guards, and named after one who tragically lost his life in May, was presented in Clearwater on Tuesday.
With school starting next week in Clearwater, school crossing guards pushed through a morning of training until there was a brief interruption from the new police chief.
"We always want to stress to you that you're part of our Public Safety family," said Chief Daniel Slaughter. "Its a very important role that you play getting our children to school safe."
But the city's top cop wasn't there for just the pep talk, he was there for an award presentation to the city's first Crossing Guard of the year-- Norman Runkles.
The award named after Doug Carey is designed to keep the memory of the man who was killed in a tragic crash at the corner of Belcher and Gulf-to-Bay in May. He was on duty trying to keep the kids safe.
"He was awesome," said Mr. Runkles, cradling the etched class plaque. " He did a great job. I mean the kids loved him. You saw what they put up at the corner, so when you see that kinda stuff going on in the community-- it makes it all worthwhile for all of us."
As the group returned to work, preparing for the upcoming interface of kids and cars, the former Volunteer Firefighter and EMT who's been on the pedestrian patrol for the past five years told us he's not about to take his award and go home. He's happy for the recognition, but knows there is still work to do.
"So, I'm gonna keep doing this job until I can't do it any longer," he said.
Then, Runkles got right back to work training fellow guards.