School crossing guards recognized by Cape police department
When Madeline Incardona first signed up to be a school crossing guard, she did so because she simply wanted to get out and do something in Cape Coral.
Twenty-five years later, Incardona is still getting out — and she likes it.
“I enjoy working with the kids,” she said Friday.
Incardona gets to know the children by name, and they get to know her.
“It makes you feel like you’re doing something worthwhile for the community,” she said.
Asked how she braves the elements and handles dangers like speeders and distracted drivers, Incardona explained that she takes it all in stride.
“As long as the kids are safe,” she said.
On Friday, the Cape Coral Police Department hosted its annual School Crossing Guard Appreciation Breakfast for the members of the unit. Sgt. Mike Catania, who oversees the unit, said there are 18 crossing guards.
Catania started the annual breakfast two years ago after learning that former Gov. Charlie Crist had proclaimed the first Friday of February as School Guard Guard Appreciation Day.
“When I saw that I wanted to extend appreciation to our school crossing guards,” he said.
Crossing guards make sure children make it safely to and from school. Catania said it is an important job considering the number of schools and the number of children in the city.
Cape Coral Mayor John Sullivan agreed.
“Somebody’s got to pat them on the back,” he said.
With no accidents or tragedies being reported from the corners where the crossing guards are posted, Sullivan called that proof of the work they do.
“That tells me they’re doing an extraordinary job,” he said.
During the appreciation breakfast Friday, Sullivan proclaimed Feb. 4, 2011, as School Crossing Guard Appreciation Day in the city. He thanked the school crossing guards for their efforts and said some children would not be here if it was not for them doing their job.
Interim Police Chief Jay Murphy echoed that.
“The community’s most valuable resource is its children, and these crossing guards day in and day out ensure their safety as they travel to and from school,” he said.
Murphy said the breakfast a token of the city’s appreciation.
Sal Perez has been a school crossing guard in the Cape for four years.
“I’m happy,” he said Friday. “The kids behave. They listen to me.”
Asked how he handles potential dangers like a speeding driver, Perez said he does “the best that he can,” even if that means he has to jump in front of a moving vehicle and hold out his hand to get the vehicle to stop or slow down.
“To hit one of those kids, they have to hit me first,” he said.