LITHIA, Fla. — On a frigid, cold Friday morning in January, there is one person to help give students those warm fuzzy feelings on the way to school.
You can find Debbie Caputo outside Fishhawk Creek Elementary School every school day — helping kids safely cross the street.
"Okie Dokie," she says — the key phrase to let kids know they can safely cross Dorman Road in Lithia.
"The part of my job I have to do is getting them across the street," she said, "the part of the job I get to do is the hugging and the loving."
Caputo became a crossing guard with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office eight years ago, it was supposed to be a temporary job for the stay-at-home mom. But, she found, she couldn't stay away.
This year, she was nominated as 'America's Favorite Crossing Guard' on safekids.org .
She is one of 55 other crossing guards across the country.
Caputo has dozens of votes, but far off from some with thousands of votes.
This crossing guard says she doesn't need a title, it's her job to keep kids safe — but she appreciates the recognition.
"It was quite an honor," she said, I think it's a little more over the top than I was expecting, but it's very affirming."
Voting is open until January 31.
For more information or to see those nominated, including Caputo, click here.