MENASHA (NBC 26) — It’s the first day of school and crossing guards are back on duty making sure kids get to school safely.
Tom Miller just entered his fourth year as a crossing guard in Menasha. He’s a longtime resident and is always looking to help his community.
“I enjoy it. I enjoy seeing the kids in the morning, talking to the parents in the morning,” said Tom Miller, a Menasha crossing guard.
Miller is stationed at a busy intersection in Menasha every morning and afternoon. Here’s why he says the job is important to him:
“Well, it’s fun first of all. You see kids first of the day, you’re smiling, you have to be nice to them, you’re the first person of authority they’re going to see, the next person is their teacher. So, you want to get them started off in a good way for the day,” said Miller.
Miller is one of many crossing guards in Neenah and Menasha. However, finding others like him wasn’t easy to start this school year.
"Filling crossing guard positions is always a challenge because you have to find the right person that is willing to come out five days a week for 45 minutes in the morning and half an hour in the afternoon regardless of weather conditions,” said Joe Benoit, Neenah community liaison officer.
The cities ensure that the crossing guards are trustworthy individuals through the application process.
“I’d be comfortable sending my own kids out to any one of these intersections to have our crossing guards help them across,” said Officer Benoit.
The job is incredibly important. In nice weather, kids are encouraged to be active by walking and riding their bikes to school.
"But we also want to provide that safety so that the kids don’t have to worry about the hazards on the road,” said Officer Benoit.
Miller’s advice to keep kids safe on their commute:
"Just pay attention, keep your eyes wide open. For at least this hour, you have to pay attention to what's going on all around you,” said Miller.
For Tom Miller, it’s all about starting the kids' day off right.
Neenah is looking to add more alternate positions. You can apply here.