As school let out the afternoon of May 5 at Barrett Elementary School, a group of youngsters and adults came barreling toward Ana Hernandez.
Fortunately, as a crossing guard, Hernandez knows crowd control. But this group, which included the school’s principal, plus students and parents, wasn’t there to cross the street; they were there to celebrate Hernandez’s recognition by the Virginia General Assembly.
Legislators in this year’s session passed a resolution saluting Hernandez, who in February had been named one of six statewide “Most Outstanding Crossing Guards” by the Virginia Department of Transportation.
“You’re a rock star,” said one parent of a Barrett student during the ceremony, which had been kept secret from the guest of honor.
Hernandez splits her time between Barrett and Ashlawn elementaries. She has been a crossing guard, employed by the county police department, since 2014.
“I like working with children,” Hernandez said. “I’m thinking [of my own children] when I’m doing my job.”
At Barrett, Hernandez makes sure elementary-schoolers, their parents and community members can safely cross Park Drive, a narrow strip that divides the northern part of the school from Lubber Run Community Center.
“She super makes sure everyone crosses before she gives the OK” for cars to continue, said Del. Patrick Hope (D-47th), who patroned the resolution in the General Assembly and is the parent of three daughters who attend Barrett.
Keeping pedestrians safe is only part of the reason Hernandez was honored by the General Assembly. The other part? Hernandez “goes above and beyond in her duties as crossing guard, taking time to teach students about the importance of pedestrian safety,” the resolution noted.
And she does so with a “cheerful disposition and sunny smile,” legislators noted.