Out of over 6,000 crossing guards throughout the state of Florida, Don Niles was named one of the very best. On Friday, February 2, Mr. Niles – a crossing guard at Double Branch Elementary School in Wesley Chapel – was recognized by the Florida Department of Transportation and the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office for being named Florida’s “School Crossing Guard of the Year.”
The FDOT Safety Office procliamed February 2 as “Crossing Guard Appreciation Day” to recognize the hard work and dedication of those individuals who keep Florida’s schoolchildren safe as they go to and from school. The FDOT works with law enforcement agencies and provides standards and uniform training across the state to ensure the and effectiveness of the program.
District Seven Secretary David Gwynn was on-hand to present the award to “Mr. Don,” as he is known to the students and staff at Double Branch Elementary.
“He’s always there to offer the children a word of encouragement,” Double Branch Principal Vaughnette Chandler said. “He’s the guy that, if the child looks like they need someone to talk to, he’s going to take the extra minute to go over and see what’s going on.”
Each year, the department recognizes individuals and organizations exemplifying professionalism and responsibility for the safety of children.
“Florida’s schoolchildren are safer because of the work our crossing guards do each day,” FDOT Secretary Mike Dew said. “Today we honor their service in protecting Florida’s most valuable resource as they bike and walk to school.”
“Mr. Niles is such a sweet man and we can see why he won, he is incredibly passionate about what he does,” District Seven Community Traffic Safety Team Program Manager Ginger Regalado said. “Thanks again for allowing us to share in this honor.”
Florida is a national leader in developing crossing guard uniform training guidelines and curriculum. The FDOT is dedicated to providing a train-the-trainer program to educate trainers on the safe and effective techniques and crossing procedures used by crossing guards.
Governor Rick Scott issued a proclamation of appreciation. Click here to view the proclamation.