Ashland students are celebrating being home to America’s Favorite Crossing Guard.
They surprised Ashland Police Chief Lyn Woolford with the news of his new title Thursday.
“It’s very humbling is what it is,” Woolford said. “So, you know, what it took to be the number one choice was quite an effort, and it wasn’t by me it was by the members of this community and all the people that voted.”
Students and others in the area cast their vote for Woolford online and a judging panel later selected him as the winner of the contest out of five nominees. The contest is sponsored by Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit organization that works to help families and communities keep children safe from injuries.
Woolford works as a crossing guard for the Southern Boone School District. Every day he guards the intersection by the primary and elementary schools. The school district will receive $10,000 to be used for improving pedestrian safety.
The entry for Woolford in the contest on the Safe Kids Worldwide website said he works to keep the kids safe “rain, shine, or snow.”
Woolford is popular for wearing different hats and accessories while working as a cross guard. Over the years he has been seen wearing parrot, Santa, chicken, taco and other hats, keeping the kids and parents guessing. He said community members gave him seven hats the week of Christmas.
Woolford stands out because of his close relationship with the students.
“This started as a way to introduce myself to the kids. Not only was there a traffic issue that needed assistance, but I wanted the kids to get to know me, and in general just the police, that we’re not the bad guy,” Woolford said.
Woolford has guarded the crosswalk for six school years and says he is sad to see the students move to different schools as they get older.
“It’s gone further than, you know, introducing myself to the kids. I got to know the parents, I get smiles with my hats from the parents,” he said. “They know the kids are here and we’re keeping them safe. We keep them safe, we keep their house safe until they get home, and then we move on to taking care of the businesses in the evening.”