PARK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — She’s watched generations of students grow and graduate.
The West Ottawa community came together Friday to celebrate the career of a woman who spent her days keeping kids safe.
“Trust me, I’m out here in every element of weather — Thunderstorm with a metal stop sign, blizzards, you name it. if there’s school, I have to be here no matter what the weather is,” said Susan Brisboe.
Brisboe has been reporting to the corner of 144th Avenue and Edmeer Drive just north of Holland for more than three decades.
Her position as crossing guard is arguably one of the most important if you ask parents or Principal Greg Rutten of nearby Woodside Elementary School.
“The first and foremost thing we want for our children is for them to feel safe and secure and that’s what our families want. Mrs. Brisboe brought that feeling each and every day. She is so reliable, so consistent,” Rutten said.
On Friday, Mrs. Brisboe hung up her fluorescent vest and called it a career.
“I’ve been around long enough to see now the children that I had when I first started working, now their children are coming here,” Brisboe said.
The things Brisboe’s seen from her corner, include but are not limited to, drivers applying makeup and eating breakfast behind the wheel.
“I saw a man go by shaving one day, someone brushing their teeth and I thought, where do you spit that?” Brisboe said.
There have been distracted drivers since the dawn of the automobile. It’s the rise of something else we all carry that’s become the biggest threat to crossing guards and the children they protect.
“Back when I first started, there wasn’t a thing as cell phones and now you have cell phone distraction where I’ve had a few that I know were on their cell phone that, whoops, I didn’t see you,” said Brisboe.
Brisboe accepted the crossing guard position when her children were in school.
“The truth is, at the end of the day, it’s about the kids. Mrs. Brisboe has kept it about the kids,’ Rutten said.
Next week, someone new will greet the kids at the corner of 144th and Edmeer. But for generations of West Ottawa students, Mrs. Brisboe will always be their crossing guard.
“It’s something I love doing. I love the children, I love working with the staff, they’re wonderful people. It’s just something I’ve really enjoyed,” Brisboe said.