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Grand Rapids woman, 82, honored as 50-year crossing guard | News

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Grand Rapids woman, 82, honored as 50-year crossing guard

Grand Rapids, Mich. (WZZM) - She has been a school crossing guard in Grand Rapids for 50 years, 44 of them at the corner of Buchanan And Griggs Streets in front of Buchanan Elementary. 

And at age 82, Lilly Rinvelt says she has no plans to retire.

“It keeps me young,” she explains with a laugh. “It’s just so great I can do this for the kids. I enjoy working with the kids.”

“Miss Lilly”, as the kids call her, began working as a crossing guard in 1965. 

“I just didn’t like sitting at home,” she recalls.  “I was looking in the paper and saw school crossing guard.  I thought that seems like a good job.”

Monday there was a ceremony to honor and thank Lilly for her years of service.

“We can’t educate the children if we don’t get them there safely,” said Grand Rapids Schools Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal. “You have done your fair share for our children and for that I am forever grateful.”

Rinvelt says she has been struck by vehicles twice during her 50 year crossing guard career.

“The drivers weren’t paying attention,” she says.  “I was standing by the curb and they knocked me into the snow bank. I landed in snow so it didn’t hurt.”
But Rinvelt says no child in her crosswalk was ever injured.

“I’ve never had a child struck by a vehicle on my corner,” she says.

Her bosses say 50 years as a crossing guard is a record.

“It’s probably a record for the whole country,” says supervisor Steve Howells. “I know it is for the state of Michigan.”  

But Rinvelt says she isn’t thinking about quitting.