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Sarasota crossing guard retires after 41 years of service

By staff
Published: November 14, 2013 Updated: November 14, 2013 at 09:52 AM

A Sarasota school crossing guard is retiring after more than 41 years in the job, making her the longest-serving guard in the state, according to the police department.

Barbara Stallings, 78, the mother of seven, started work as a crossing guard when her youngest child entered kindergarten on Jan. 19, 1972. Her first post was at Bahia Vista Street and Shade Avenue.

“I guess it’s the kids” Stallings said in a video report on her job. “I like kids. That’s it. It’s a habit that I can’t break.”

Her impact on the children she sees each school day makes an impression.

“ Kids aspire to be a crossing guard, can you believe it,” she said. “Usually it’s a nurse, or a teacher or a doctor. I thought that was so cute.”

“As far as we know she is the longest-serving in the state,” said Genevieve Judge, partnership policing communications coordinator. She said some of the 25 guards working with the city are paid.

“This type of accomplishment is one that many people only dream about. Barbara always said she could write a book about all the things that happened during her time with the Sarasota Police Department,” said Nicki Whitehead, Sarasota police crossing guard coordinator.

She is being honored today at the Sarasota police department.