80-year-old crossing guard gets surprised by community kids on his birthday – “It’s a joy words cannot explain”
We see plenty of police officers, firefighters, teachers and other important members of our communities get praised for their efforts – and rightfully so. But what about the very people that make sure our children get to school safely?
We’re talking about the crossing guards, and one community just celebrated one of their own in the sweetest possible way…
A community in Illinois just surprised their beloved crossing guard of 14 years for his 80th birthday – and it might be the sweestest thing you’ll see all week.
Alec Childress was surprised by 100 kids, parents, family and church members on Thursday at the intersection where he’s served as a crossing guard in Wilmette, Illinois for over a decade.
The village even presented Childress with an honorary street sign which read, “Alec’s Corner.”
“It’s a joy that words cannot explain,” Childress told Good Morning America moments after the celebration. “It’s unbelievable the love that had been poured out for me. I’m just so grateful.”
Childress and his wife of 32 years, Gail, have two children. He also has 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
In addition to his family, Childress said his greatest happiness has been greeting the students of Central School and St. Francis School.
Each morning, the kids are met with a smile, a peace sign and his catch phrase, “Peace, I gotcha.”
“Alec’s just amazing, he is so special,” a party organizer Krista Gallagher told “GMA.” “We feel like he’s a real gift to us. He gives us love and joy and happiness every day on top of keeping our kids safe.”
Gallagher is mom to Lauren, Morgan and Liam. Her family has known Childress for five years.
Gallagher said neighbors and friends all chipped in so Childress and his wife could go to dinner and the show “Hamilton” for his birthday — a gift a roaring crowd surprised him with this morning.
“He did not see it coming,” Gallagher added. “He got out of his car and said, ‘I’m speechless and you know I’m never speechless.'”
Childress said he’s always shown “love, respect and his highest character.” He prides himself on walking 4 miles a day and said he has no immediate plans to retire.
“As long as I’m able to do this, I’ll be out here giving the peace sign,” Childress said.