Winner of 2018 America’s Favorite Crossing Guard Contest “Overwhelmed”
“It’s an honor to be nominated and then to be selected as the winner…I’m overwhelmed,” said Sherriff Rob Rost, winner of the 2018 America’s Favorite Crossing Guard Contest held by Safe Kids Worldwide. The outstanding and heartfelt testimonials about Rost’s dedication to serving as a crossing guard for 13 years earned the “America’s Favorite” title for him. Nominations were received in support of crossing guards across the United States.
Dressed in his State County Sheriff’s uniform and wielding his fluorescent stop sign flag, Rost commands the respect of both drivers and pedestrians on their way to and from Kelly Elementary School in Grand Forks, North Dakota. “See me now or see me later,” said Rost with a smile, as he explained the message he communicates to drivers: Slow down when entering the school’s road safety zone.
When asked how he got started as a crossing guard, Rost said it began more than 49 years ago, when he was in the fourth grade. Growing up in Bellevue, Washington, Rost served in the American Automobile Association’s crossing guard program in grades 4-6. His inspiration was Sergeant Fitzpatrick, a Washington State Patrol Officer who served as a crossing guard Safety Supervisor. At that time in Rost’s life, he set his sights on becoming a law enforcement officer.
Every day he sees distracted drivers and pedestrians. Drivers are texting, eating, and putting on makeup. Pedestrians are distracted too and not watching where they are going. “It seems like nobody eats breakfast before leaving home,” Rost said, “Kids are eating toaster strudels or looking at their cell phones while walking.” Rost’s advice? “Drivers need to pay attention to the road and be buckled-up – all passengers need to be buckled-up too – pedestrians need to be aware of their surroundings.”
When asked what keeps him going, Rost says “It’s all about the kids. I want them to know that law enforcement officers are their friends. They hi-five me, talk to me, and share their problems with me. These kids are the future. If you instill safety thinking in them now, they will carry it forward into adulthood and will be the problem solvers of the future.”
Regarding America’s Favorite Crossing Guard sponsor FedEx, Rost says, “FedEx has been huge around here, getting involved with school safety. FedEx is involved in this community and across the United States.” Though he will be retiring at the end of this year, Rost says he plans to keep on volunteering as a crossing guard.