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Students honor beloved crossing guard in Tempe

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Posted at 10:01 PM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-11 00:34:09-05

TEMPE, AZ — The Tempe Elementary School District is highlighting the efforts of one of their own on this 'Crossing Guard Appreciation Week.' A woman who goes above and beyond for students at Rover Elementary in Tempe and now, those students are giving back.

"How was your day? Pretty good, how was yours? My day was very good," says Betty O'Neill while speaking with a student.

78-year-old Betty O'Neill is more than just a crossing guard, she's a staple within the community.

"Four years. This is my fourth and I hope I can do it as long as I am physically capable," says O'Neill.

Betty works for Rover Elementary in Tempe. You can find her before and after school at the intersection of Lakeshore and Southshore drives. She greets every person who passes by.

"Well, you have a good day!" says O'Neill.

"I just hope that they continue their education, and they know how to be kind to people," says O'Neill.

Through her own kindness, she has impacted countless lives. Students wanted to pay that forward by surprising her with hand-made cards.

"Stop signs are red, oceans are blue, people stop because, they love you," reads O'Neill.

The cards mean so much to a woman who is as humble as they come.

"I couldn't believe they did this. I mean, I'm just a crossing guard. I'm not a teacher or anything. I'm just somebody that sees them twice a day, it's not a big deal. But, it really makes me feel appreciated and like maybe I am doing something," says O'Neill.

Betty is doing something indeed.

"Barry, are you going that way?" asks O'Neill.

Not only does she help students cross busy streets, she knows each of them by name.

"It seems if I write them down, I remember. When you get old, you have to do things like that," says O'Neill.

That thoughtful gesture is appreciated by all.

"Oh, best crossing guard ever. I circled around to say, 'well done!'" says Ian Shovelin, a parent.

Betty worked as a librarian at Mesa Community College for 30 years but, she says the most rewarding job is the one she has now.

"Have a good, good day. See you, tomorrow!" says O'Neill.