Elementary school crossing guard recognized for 35 years of service

Carolyn Rainey has been serving the Hillcrest Elementary community for 35 years and has no plans of slowing down.
Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 5:10 AM CDT
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ENTERPRISE, Ala. (WTVY) - For some people, a job is a means to make ends meet but for others, it is a passion they can’t seem to put down.

One of these people is Carolyn Rainey, a crossing guard in Enterprise. It’s something she’s dedicated much of her life to and something she hopes she’ll keep doing for a while yet.

Rainey is a crossing guard at Hillcrest Elementary. She has been on the job for 35 years.

“I started in 1988,” Rainey explained. “My youngest son started kindergarten here the first year I was here.”

She says keeping kids safe gives her purpose and makes her feel useful.

“Sometimes the traffic gets a little hectic, and you never know when someone may not see the kids, and they might get hit,” she said.

Over the years, Rainey has become a staple outside of the school.

“She does very well on watching everything, and she is a very humble person,” Enterprise Police Chief, Michael Moore, said.

It hasn’t always been a smooth ride. Rainey said that as a crossing guard, people don’t always understand what her job entails.

“When I was a captain in patrol, someone called and complained and said she didn’t think she should be directing traffic,” Moore recalled.

He said he planned to reassign Rainey for two weeks, but it didn’t take long to learn that was a bad idea.

“By that afternoon, I had so many calls and complaints about her not directing traffic. That afternoon,” he emphasized, “not even a full twelve hours, I came back out here and said, “Get back to directing traffic.”

It’s evident Rainey has touched the lives of many students, teachers and parents who were once students she protected. In a previous semester, an accident caused Rainey to take some time off.

“She wasn’t really at fault,” Moore explained. “She was doing her job and stepped in the path of a slow-moving trailer, but she was out for quite a few weeks.”

Other officers stepped in, but it wasn’t the same. While Rainey was recovering, there was one thing on her mind.

“Mrs. Rainey came to me multiple times and asked me not to fire her after the injury,” Moore said. “I said “Absolutely not. As a matter of fact, she will come back when she’s ready.”

Now she is back, receiving the Chiefs Award for her dedication. It has only been awarded five times during Chief Moore’s career.

When asked if she had any plans to retire, this is all she had to say.

“Mhmm, maybe,” she said. “Maybe one day. I just feel useful out here and I enjoy it.”

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