STOP! AAA Announces 2013 Crossing Guards of the Year

Buckeye, Tucson guards earn coveted title

Phoenix, Ariz., April 26, 2013.  Crossing guards play a crucial role in our community, keeping children safe as they travel to and from school.  To recognize these community stewards, AAA is honoring all crossing guards — including the winners of the 2013 AAA Crossing Guard of the Year award— today on Crossing Guard Appreciation Day.

“Crossing guards are unsung heroes of our communities,” said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona. “As an advocate for traffic safety, AAA applauds all guards for their commitment, and for the difference they make in the communities they serve.” 

Recipients of AAA’s Crossing Guard of the Year award demonstrate the highest level of 

dedication, friendliness, professionalism and safety.  For 2013, the following guards earned the coveted title:

  • Maricopa County: Willis Washington, Steven R. Jasinski Elementary School, Buckeye (pictured left)
  • Pima County: Ray Ventura Reyes, Annie W. Kellond Elementary School, Tucson (pictured right)

“Words cannot begin to describe the gratitude we have for Mr. Washington. He is attentive, caring and loving to all of our children, and never hesitates to go above and beyond his assigned duty to ensure that our school is well taken care of,” said Tracy Casey, principal at Steven R. Jasinski Elementary School. “I am so thankful and honored to know someone as amazing as Willis Washington.”

“Ray has a natural instinct. He connects with people. He’s got a level of kindness that goes deep in his soul,” said Scott Hagerman, principal at Annie W. Kellond Elementary School. “There’s not a parent or a kid that won’t say Mr. Reyes is awesome.”

The schools are celebrating Washington and Reyes with a schoolwide assembly this week, where the recipients will receive a plaque and $100 Target 

gift card, courtesy of AAA Arizona.

AAA Arizona began its search for the sixth annual award at the beginning of the school year. Nearly 600 nominations – including many hand-written and drawings from students – were received, describing why their crossing guard deserved the title. AAA traffic safety staff evaluated nominations to select finalists before conducting an observation of each guard performing their duties.

As an advocate for traffic safety, AAA participates in annual crossing guard training, produces training materials for guards, and has donated more than a thousand safety vests to crossing guards in Maricopa and Pima County.

Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and travel services to more than 825,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on Arizona roadways. The auto club also provides insurance, travel, auto repair, discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.