Cpl. Lewis Alston, a former Marine, has enlisted himself to protect the children at an elementary school in Pennsylvania by helping them cross the street safely.
Alston, 63, had been driving by Lancaster’s Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School last year when he noticed that no crossing guard was there to assist the children across the road.
“I saw, when I was coming down the street, a student that ran in between the cars,” Alston told ABC News. “The traffic will not stop for the children at all.”
At the start of the 2014-15 school year, Alston went over to the school and noticed that there was still no crossing guard at the busy crossroads. So the chaplain, serving the Lancaster County Marine Corps League, thought he would take action and volunteer for the job. He was already dressed in his marine uniform as he had just attended a funeral service that day.
Via ABC News:
“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 Sadler.
“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 to stop.
“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.”
“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.”
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Photo Credit: Lorraine Alston