Retired Marine Helps Students to Safely Cross Street
Updated: Friday, August 29 2014, 04:31 PM CDT
When he saw kids dodging cars with no crossing guard in sight, one retired
Marine made it his duty to help children at a Pennsylvania elementary school
cross the street.
"I saw -- when I was coming down the street -- a
student that ran in between the cars," Alston, 63, of Lititz,
Pennsylvania, told ABC News. "The traffic will not stop for the children
So when the school year started on Monday, Alston, who
is a chaplain for the Lancaster County Marine Corps League, headed to the school and
saw that they didn't have a crossing guard at one busy intersection. Because he
had been at a funeral service that day, Alston was still wearing his marine
"I had my uniform on, and I thought, 'Wouldn't it be a golden
opportunity for the students to see a marine help them cross the street?'"
the former truck driver said.
Every day since then, Alston has gone to the school in
his uniform in the mornings and afternoons when he can to walk the children
safely across the street. Alston said he doesn't try to stop or block traffic, but will
ask cars to stop and will cross the street with groups of students.
"It's just heavy in my heart to have the students have to deal with
this," he said.
While there are crossing guards in other areas around
the school, there isn't a crossing guard at Alston's intersection because the
city has limited resources, according to Lancaster Chief of Police Keith
"There are hundreds of intersections that just
can't be covered. We're short crossing guards now, and it's not for lack of
wanting," Sadler told ABC News.
Sadler, who knows Alston personally, said what Alston's
doing isn't illegal and won't ask him
"I think the marine uniform was a great idea," Sadler said.
"He's a very honorable man. You almost wish more people would take that much
interest in a community."
The School District of Lancaster told ABC News that
it's fortunate to have volunteers like Alston to provide safe passages for its
students both to and from school.
"In addition to the retired marine, we have a
group of community members who have stationed themselves in a heavily traveled
park at dismissal time for the past four years," district spokesperson
Kelly Burkholder said in a statement.
Parents, students, and even those in the cars Alston
ask to stop appreciate his help, Alston said.
"The students saluted me. They say, 'Thank you
sir,'" he said. "One woman in her car said, 'Thank you for your
Alston said he and a few of his friends that are also
veterans plan on working as a team to help each other at different
intersections without crossing guards.
"In a small little town, we all look out for each
other," said Alston.
"I will stay there until this is worked out. If I
can be there, I will be there."
(Source ABC News Photo