Story and photos by Mary Mumbrue

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May 4 was designated by the State of Illinois as Crossing Guard Appreciation Day to recognize the importance of crossing guards in the Illinois Safe Route to School Program.

This day was one way of acknowledging the contributions of the men and women who serve as crossing guards and the critical role they play in making the streets safer for children going to and from school. Morning and afternoon, in sleet or snow, rain or shine, the 40 crossing guards for the Evanston Schools (according to the 2000 census) are out there every day.

Jeffrey Spillman, above, shepherds children to Kingsley School. He has been a crossing guard for eight years. Going to Washington School on May 4, a mother and her children presented 9-year crossing guard Edward Irving, right, with a bouquet of lilies of the valley.