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91-year-old crossing guard braves heat for job she loves

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Posted at 10:34 PM, Aug 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-25 23:57:48-04

OLATHE, Kan. — One school crossing guard doesn't mind the heat even when the temperature is hotter than her age: 91.

Joan, 'Ms. Joanie,' Jenkins has been a crossing guard for nine years at Cedar Creek Elementary School in Olathe.

“I love it,” Jenkins said. “It’s just wonderful seeing those children every day.”

She retired in 2012, but said boredom was a problem as a widow.

The people she met at Cedar Creek have become like her second family.

“I’m very grateful to be able to be among those children and the wonderful people that are those parents and teachers out there,” she said.

The parents love her so much the school's Parent Teacher Organization threw her a surprise 90th birthday party.

“That was pretty special that we were able to honor her and celebrate her,” one PTO member told KSHB 41.

Ms. Joanie said she doesn’t do it for the recognition.

In fact, she feels other crossing guards across the metro deserve the attention more than she does.

“To stand out there in the four seasons and it’s 107 in the past week, they should be appreciated,” she said.

Ms. Joanie has become a fixture at the school.

“She’s been here for as long as I can remember,” said Christopher Wick, a Cedar Creek parent. “I’ve taken my kids here since the 2000s. She’s always been very patient with the traffic even though traffic hasn’t been patient with her.”

Ms. Joanie was born April 9, 1932 and never dreamed of being a school crossing guard at age 91.

“I guess I never thought about what I’d be doing at this age,” Jenkins said. “Except I knew I’d be doing something.”

As for a second retirement, Ms. Joanie doesn’t see that happening any time soon.

“I just enjoy the children, you know? Keeps me young,” she said.