Pathway to education has guardian
Office size doesn’t always measure job importance.
Hank Greco’s office is barely 3 feet by 3 feet but his job is one of the most crucial positions in South Lake Tahoe.
Greco, 68, has lived in the community for 21 years and has been the sole crossing guard on staff for the Lake Tahoe Unified School District for six years. Before his present position he worked as a sanitation engineer for the district since 1988.
It is Greco’s responsibility to make sure that kids from South Tahoe Middle School, Al Tahoe Elementary School and St. Theresa’s private school get to school safely.
Once the cars stop and the walk signal appears, Greco has 30 seconds to usher kids across busy U.S. Highway 50. It is one of the few schools he can think of which its crosswalk isn’t off the beaten path.
“For the most part, 99.99 percent of the drivers are really good,” Greco said, adding that there is always room for improvement.
Parents who have dropped their children off at school sometimes don’t pay attention to the crosswalk when turning right onto Highway 50, Greco said. Instead they are often looking for oncoming cars instead of oncoming kids.
In sun, sleet and snow Greco likes where he works and said that while the children can misbehave at times – Greco says it’s normal at their age – adults have been more than generous to him.
“One guy, I wish I knew his name, came by and gave me a rain suit,” Greco said. In the past he has also received newspapers and hot coffee.
“I try to exercise a little bit while I work,” Greco said adding that he thinks exercise is important in keeping him healthy and up to speed with his charges.
The children keep Greco young and on top of things. He said they sneak up behind him and scare him from time to time but he seems unbothered by it.
“They are really good kids,” Greco said. “In the years I’ve done this, this is probably the best year I’ve had with the kids.”
The only thing that really drives Greco crazy is the children who grow to be taller than him in such a short time. He likes to have a little edge over the 80 students he sees come and go every day.
With 10 children of his own, Greco has had plenty of experience with raising and watching over children.
“I couldn’t be prouder of my kids,” Greco said.
All 10 went to college and have promising careers.
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