Long-time Richmond crossing guard hangs up her vest after 50 years

RICHMOND, Va. -- When trying to get to work on time, most people try avoiding rush hour traffic at all cost.

But Annie Reese appreciates being right in the thick of it.

“Even today I want to do it the right way,” says Annie. “Twice a day. Twice a day.”

Annie is a fixture, posted up just steps from Blackwell Elementary on Richmond’s southside.

“At that spot. 14th and Stockton Street. That is my corner,” says Annie. “I have really totally enjoyed it. I really have.”

Standing watch like a Shepperd guarding her flock, Annie has helped so many students she’s lost count.

“I love them a whole bunch. A whole lot. I really do,” says Annie.

It’s a responsibility the Sussex County native has been perfecting for 50 years. Both children and parents can always depend on Ms. Annie.

“Then when I’m off or sick or something people say, ‘Oh, Lord I’m so glad you’re back.” Makes me feel so good and I just want to keep plugging,” says Annie.

Speeding through her intersection is a big no-no.

“You don’t want to hit me because there will be some trouble,” says Annie

The biggest threat to her children is distracted drivers texting behind the wheel.

“Some of them don’t hear you till they blow the whistle. Then again some breeze right by you anyway,” says Annie.

Motorists aren’t the only ones who need to listen, students also need to follow her lead.

“I just don’t tolerate them running up and down the street,” says Annie.

Annie controls the flow of cars and busses with ease giving orders with a smile.

“I am happy to report in 50 years no child has had an accident in getting hit on my corner,” says Annie.

The 78-year-old widow welcomes, waves, “Hellos” and so much more.

But like a hug, all good things must come to an end.

“I am going to miss it,” says Annie.

Annie Reese will hang up her vest for good this summer. With retirement looming, Annie reflects on the generations she has helped in the crosswalk. And on the road right to her heart.

“I feel like I’ve done my job and done it to the best of my ability. Now its time for me to move on.”

Annie Reese was recently honored by the Richmond City Council for her 50 years of service.

If you know of someone with an interesting story email me at gmcquade@wtvr.com.

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