Thank you: School crossing guards honored across Florida

By Fallon Silcox, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, February 02, 2018, 10:51 AM EST

It is Crossing Guard Appreciation Day in Florida, and agencies across the state are taking time Friday to say thank you.

  • 83 crossing guards honored Friday in Pinellas County
  • Similar honors taking place across the state
  • Debby Huneke, Debby Tennant saluted for actions after shooting

Crossing guards work every school day, rain or shine, making sure kids get to school safely each day. They appreciate the recognition, because the job isn't as easy as it may seem.

For the last decade, Debby Huneke and Debby Tennant have worked at the corner of 86th Avenue and 131st Street in Seminole.

"Our goal is to make sure that they arrive to school safely, and basically under the circumstances, we've been doing this for quite a long time," Huneke said. "And so far, no mishaps."

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office will honor them Friday, not only for their years of service, but also for their quick action and good instincts when there was a shooting not far from a cross walk in November.

"High schoolers coming around the corner running, and it dawned on us that that was a gun shot," Huneke said. "So from there, I was able to contact our local sheriff's department and within seconds they were here and helped us get the children safely across to the middle school."

While that incident was unusual, Cpl. Dan Difrancesco said school crossing guards work hard and face potentially dangerous situations every day.

"It's a hard job at times. They're not only responsible for themselves getting across the road but they're responsible to get these kids across the road safely," Difrancesco said.

The kids make it worthwhile for crossing guards like Huneke.

"You know you've obviously left an imprint with some of these kids and hopefully a good one," she said. "What we look forward to is, obviously if some of the kids still recognize us and we recognize them down the road."

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office will honor 83 crossing guards on Friday for their service.

The Florida Department of Transportation has named the Clearwater Police Department's crossing guard program the 2017 School Crossing Guard Program of the Year.