GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — After 50 years of protecting Grand Rapids children headed for school, a beloved crossing guard is retiring.

Kattie Eason has been crossing children at the corner of Wealthy Street SE and Henry Avenue since 1977, according to Grand Rapids Public Schools. She started the job because she wanted to be close to her children.

“I just love working with children,” she said.

Her own kids went to Henry Elementary School, which eventually became Martin Luther King Leadership Academy.

“Every time I said I was gonna retire, I get some more children. I was like, ‘ok I can’t abandon my babies, maybe a few more years.’ And then some more come along and I say ‘maybe a few more years.’”

She treats the children as her own, giving them umbrellas, socks and even the coat off her back if kids don’t have their own, Eason said.

“I love doing this and I’m gonna miss it. I really am gonna miss it. You might find me out here sometime just holding onto a stop sign,” she said, laughing.

To learn more, watch the video at the top of this story.

News 8’s Brittany Flowers contributed to this story.