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In the world of crossing guards, Guadalupe Rubino stands out like a ray of light on a storm-filled day. Which is the reason she was picked as the 60th Precincts Crossing Guard of the Year. Rubino works the Stillwell/Neptune Avenue intersection near PS 90, and is one of 36 crossing guards assigned to the precinct to safely cross elementary public and parochial school children at busy intersections. Guadalupes uniform is impeccable. Shes like a Marine Corpsman in her look, said Police Officer Richard Lewis, the 60th Precincts school crossing guard coordinator. She wears a freshly pressed police jacket, shirt and tie. If her hat becomes even slightly tattered, she immediately buys a new one, he added. Lewis said Rubino often comes to work early and stays late. Shell cross everybody who needs the help. While others take a break, shes out there in the cold weather and the rainy weather, barely taking a break, said Lewis. She also has good attendance and is very friendly. Everybody comes up and constantly tells me about her. While Lewis couldnt find enough adjectives to describe the crossing guards skills, Rubino attributed most of her crossing guard techniques to other crossing guards. The key is I learned a little bit from all the other women [crossing guards]I know who have done it for years. So I give them credit for it [the award], said Rubino. Rubino, who grew up in Canarsie and now lives in Bensonhurst, said she doesnt know why she became a crossing guard, but loves the civil service job. Im just fortunate to do what I love and I love what I do. I love to just protect the children and make sure the drivers are safe, said Rubino. I have a lot of respect at that corner and am thankful for the good relationship and rapport I have there with the bus drivers and everyone who stops for us and the children, she added. Rubino, who has been a crossing guard about a year and a half, was honored with about 20 other crossing guards at the recent 60th Police Precinct Community Council. Most were honored for their many years of service and longevity with Carmen Davila, heading the list with 28 years spent crossing the young students. Lewis said the crossing guards, once hired, go to the police academy for about six days of training. Then after coming back to the precinct, I put them with an experienced crossing guard for a week or two until they get a feel for the job, said Lewis. Then they get their own post. Lewis explained its not an easy job, and from time to time crossing guards get injured through slipping on ice, tripping over a pothole or get hit by motorists, as well as sometimes taking verbal abuse from motorists. The crossing guards are also an extra set of eyes and ears for the police if they see a crime or a vehicle accident, he said. Lewis said crossing guards work a minimum of four and a maximum of five hours a day during the school year. A lot of them get to be like fixtures in the community. They know the parents, kids get attached to them and they feel safe when theyre out there, said Lewis, who has headed the unit for nine years and who plans on retiring form the police next year. Im retiring soon and it will be very sad, said Lewis. These crossing guards are like family.
©2006 Community Newspaper Group
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