Crossing guard’s gift warms hearts and heads


BISMARCK, Ill. (WCIA) — A crossing guard is giving back to her community in more ways than one.

Jane Cress has watched over children at Bismarck-Henning Elementary School for roughly 25 years.

“Someone will ask us how many kids do you have, and he [Cress’ husband] will say, ‘we have one, but she has 300,'” Cress says.

She began her crossing guard career at the coldest point of the year: January. Cress remembers the bitter cold she experienced that year, and in future years, but she’s doing everything she can to help students stay as warm as possible. Her youngest kids crossing the intersection of Holloway and Chicago all sport brightly-colored knit hats that she made.

“Every single hat is a different color,” Cress says. “Then we put colorful pom poms on them and then we sewed their initials on so each kid would be special and know how much we love them.”

Jane’s mother, Mary Potter, was not only her knitting teacher, but her partner in this whole endeavor.

“My friend said, ‘how’d you get into that?'” Potter says. “I said, ‘well, I volunteered.'”

The two have lost their exact count of how many hats they’ve made, between the pre-kindergarteners and other students, staff, family and friends, but say they’ve probably made around 100. Each hat takes roughly one day to make.

Brandon Curry-Varner’s daughter sports a brand new pink hat. He says it was awesome seeing Cress distribute all of the hats.

“One of the things they’re learning in class is the first letter of their initial,” Curry-Varner says. “For Jane and Mary to put those letters on there and to help them with that really made me appreciate them that much more.”

He says he believes their hats are doing more than just keeping their kids warm.

“I honestly do believe that it teaches them to give back and to put others before themselves and to be selfless,” Curry-Varner says.

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