GARLAND - By Ellen Cook, Headliner Media Specialist, April 13, 2023
A good share of the students in the Bear River Valley walk to and from school. That means crossing traffic-filled streets and keeping an eye on drivers that don’t always pay attention to those trying to get to the other side. Students walking to Garland Elementary School now have another set of eyes – and two legs – helping them navigate the city’s busy Main Street these days.
Meet Kirt Womack, Tremonton Garland Police Department’s newest crossing guard. A son of the city he now serves, he is just a week into his new position, and loving it.
“I applied at the first of the school year to be a crossing guard, but all they needed was a substitute. So when this position was advertised, I applied, and I got it,” Womack said.
Dealing with disabilities, Womack said helping students, even if for only an hour in the morning and a half hour in the afternoon, is the perfect job for him.
“I do it for them,” he said of his young walkers. “They deserve to be safe, and they deserve to be happy. I am who they see just before they get to school and if I can have them go in that building feeling like somebody cares, I’ve done my job. I'm also the first person they see as they leave to go home. No matter how tough their day has been, they need to see me happy. I can’t be grumpy.”
It doesn’t hurt that he also gets to wave at those driving past the crosswalk at 500 South Main, some he knows and others who he will make sure he gets to know as his crossing guard duties continue. That’s his personality and one he can’t hide from those students who he interacts with on a daily basis.
“I had one young girl do a whole gymnastics show right in that driveway just for me,” he beamed. “It was amazing!”
Police officer Peter Gilchrist, who oversees Womack, as well as the other seven crossing guards working for the agency, said what is even more amazing is the dedication they each put into their assignments, no matter what school they are covering.
“A child who walks to school has a special relationship with a crossing guard,” he said. “I cannot count the number of times I have watched the kids of our community run up to the crossing guards with something exciting to share with them.”
He said the job done by his team “on the streets” is invaluable. “I am very proud of our crossing guards,” he said. “They often go above and beyond in seeing their children safely to school and back.”
“Because it’s important,” Womack chimed in. “These are the people who matter. These kids are the future of our whole community, our whole country. A positive or a negative experience will affect what they become as they grow up as adults. What we do here may not seem like a whole lot but sometimes just having someone smile and say hi can make a difference. That’s what I try to do.”
With his obvious commitment to kids, “Womack is a wonderful addition to the team,” Gilchrist noted. “With his hiring our positions ae back to full staffing, something we are very excited about.”
Substitute crossing guards are always needed, however. Those interested can apply at the Tremonton or Garland City offices.