Sub-Zero Temperatures no Match for 80-Year-Old Crossing Guard

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WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- “So nice to see you, goodbye! Have a nice evening my dear lady!”

Glenn Peterson leans into a car, wishing farewell to one of the children he normally helps cross the street.

Peterson spends his afternoons at the corner of Valley West Drive and Western Hills Drive. The 80-year-old crossing guard says this week's brutal temperatures won’t stop him from doing his job.

“I was raised on a farm in southern Iowa so this kind of weather never bothered me too much. I just layer up. Five on the top and three on the bottom. I feel no pain, my face is conditioned,” said Peterson.

He dutifully stands watch along the busy road, even if only one student needed his services Monday afternoon.

The West Des Moines School District may not need his help over the next few days. They are closely watching the forecast to determine if they need to close schools this week.

“We're already in contact with the National Weather Service, monitor that as well as area school districts to determine what we may decide to do and what the most appropriate timing for that is,” said School/Community Relations Director Laine Mendenhall-Buck.

The school district says they're looking for sustained wind chills of negative 30 as the benchmark for closure, but that is not set in stone.

“We absolutely take into account the students that are walking to school or waiting for buses, as well as making sure that our buses are going to run smoothly and be warm enough to each of the schools they are going to,” said Mendenhall-Buck.

Something that Peterson says he wasn't lucky enough to experience.

“I had an eighth of a mile to walk to a country school. We never cancelled schools in the good old days!” he said.

The district says it is looking like Wednesday has the greatest chance of school closings, but they also are monitoring the weather for Tuesday evening activities.


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