Protecting your kids while crossing the street to school, is very serious business. But as we mark Crossing Guard Appreciation Week, we found one Lowcountry crossing guard who goes above and beyond to keep our students safe with a wave and a smile.
Its a job some people may take for granted, but not Nellie Aviles. Aviles has been protecting the lives of children heading to and from school at both Burns Elementary and Zucker Middle Schools as a crossing officer for almost a year.
She says it's a job she takes pride in and handles with great care.
"I try to get them to school either walking or riding their bike in a safe manner," Aviles says.
For motorists who drive by her post on Dorchester Road during her shift, she's difficult to miss, waving to perfect strangers during their morning commute to work in between helping students cross the street.
"I try to interact with the children and the parents and the pedestrians that are crossing my side of the road," Aviles says.
Parents and even drivers have also taken notice.
"She is always waving at the crowd like I'm doing and she always make the children's day," parent Derrick Orlando Bright says.
"Its obvious she cares about her job she has a good attitude I feel safe with my kids walking across the road," Michael Brant, another parent, says.
"I feel like sometimes people just need that hello to get them going in the morning," Aviles says.
And her kindness and professionalism have not gone unnoticed. She was recently recognized by the state for her performance as well as nominated for a service award at Zucker.
"She does exceed she loves children and it shows she loves her job and that also shows she has a very friendly personality," Julie Kilgore, who supervises school crossing officers, says.
In addition to doing her daily duties, Aviles also helps translate for Spanish-speaking parents in the front office when needed, and once she even bought a luggage carrier for a student she saw struggling to carry his musical instrument to school.
"I enjoy trying to help everybody that I can," Aviles says.