Vail School District crossing guard wins top award - - Columbia, South Carolina

Elementary school crossing guard wins top award

Pima County's 2014 Crossing Guard of the Year Petra Wilcox (Source: Maria Hechanova) Pima County's 2014 Crossing Guard of the Year Petra Wilcox (Source: Maria Hechanova)
Petra Wilcox at work (Source: Maria Hechanova) Petra Wilcox at work (Source: Maria Hechanova)
VAIL, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Local school employee Petra Wilcox, a crossing guard with Desert Willow Elementary School, won AAA's 2014 Crossing Guard of the Year award for Pima County. 

School officials and AAA surprised her today at a school safety assembly. 

"I'm very surprised. I did not expect any of this, but I'm very happy," said Petra Wilcox, the 2014 AAA Crossing Guard of the Year.  "The kids, the parents, they're very important to me and I just love them all and it's just a great job to do."

AAA spokesperson, Valerie Vinyard, said Wilcox was picked out of more than 100 nominations.

"Crossing guards are the roadways' guardian angels, keeping children safe as they travel to and from school," said Vinyard.  

Wilcox, a single mother of two, received a plaque and a $500 Visa Card. She works one-on-one with special needs students at the school during the day, and works as a crossing guard before and after school.  Desert Willow Elementary also received a $500 check from AAA.

According to Desert Willow's assistant to the principal, Kendra Forgacs, Wilcox who has worked for the school since 2003, goes above and beyond her job title. 

"She's always our go-to person. She cares about these kiddos more than anyone I can say. She's always there for us," said Forgacs.  In her nomination of Wilcox, she also writes that Petra plays an integral role in the safety of our children and takes that responsibility seriously.

Rain or shine, Wilcox braves the weather to get kids to school safely and does it all with a smile. She also keeps an eye on the behavior of drivers. Another person who nominated Wilcox writes, "Should she see someone driving improperly, she will note the license and model info and call the school's office staff to follow up."

"Crossing guards are unsung heroes," said Vinyard. "It can be a thankless job, but they're very crucial for school safety."

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