SACO — Two local crossing guards are putting away their signs and safety vests for good.
Both Homer Grant and Juliette Lambert, who are crossing guards in the Fairfield School area in Saco, retired Friday after serving the city for 12 years.
The primary purpose of school crossing guards is to ensure children cross busy intersections back and forth safely, said School Resource Officer Amanda Condon.
Crossing guards like Grant and Lambert, who have been in their positions for a long time, become trusted, familiar adults to children, said Condon. Children are comfortable with them and know they are there to keep them safe while they cross the street.
“They are an important part of the community,” said Condon.
Grant, 95, stood ready at his post on Beach Street on Friday morning. Donning a yellow safety vest and holding a stop sign, he was definitely a presence as he stopped traffic near Pepperell Park.
Grant, whose vocal chords were removed a few years ago due to an illness, has difficulty speaking, but when asked why he chose to become a crossing guard, he wrote, “It’s something to do.”
Grant, who is also a custodian at Dayton Consolidated School, said he likes to keep active.
Lambert, who declined to say her age, said she retired from MEMIC in 2003. She said her brother and his wife were crossing guards, and they encouraged her to become one as well.
“They talked me into it, and I’m kind of glad they did,” she said. “It’s been a good job.”
School crossing guards work about an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon, when school is in session.
The job often attracts retirees, and though it’s only a couple of hours a day, those who take it must be able to brave the cold, wind, rain, sleet, or whatever the day brings.
“They’re there from September until June, no matter what the weather. They’re dedicated individuals,” said Condon.
Lambert said she won’t miss having to be outside in the cold and rain or having to get up at 5:10 in the morning.
Lambert had in her hand good bye cards from a few of the students. Although she said she was happy to be retiring to have more time to play golf and do activities with the SENIORity program at the recreation department, the day was bitter sweet.
“I love the kids. I’m going to miss them,” she said. “Those kids are really something else. They’re very happy all the time.”

Liz Gotthelf can be reached at 780-9015 or by email at [email protected]

Saco crossing guard Homer Grant stops traffic on Beach Street on the morning of Friday, June 14. Grant retired Friday after 12 years of service. (Liz Gotthelf photo/Journal Tribune)

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