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Community surprises North Country crossing guard with accolades, cash

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 4:51 PM EDT
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - Throughout the pandemic, we have seen communities come together to lift each other up. In Northern New York, an online Facebook community known as “Tipping North Country” has done just that. Monday, they had another big surprise that was a big success.

It was an unusual start to the workweek for school crossing guard Maurice Daniels.

“I saw the police here,” Daniels said. “I saw the cop car there and I thought something must be going on at the school.”

Little did he know that something was all for him.

He got out of his car and put his safety vest on with his stop sign in hand and walked up to Stafford Middle School for his 2 p.m. shift.

He was greeted with signs and sounds of encouragement.

Daniels was not expecting to see Mikey Gines, the creator of Tipping North Country.

“We see you out here rain or shine with a smile on your face,” Gines said.

He’s heard about Daniels and his nearly two decades of service keeping kids safe as they cross the road.

“This is an appreciation day for you to thank you so much for doing the best that you can and doing a top-dollar job and keeping these kids safe,” Gines said.

Tipping North Country collected $2,000 from community members near and far over two weeks and rolled it up into a “casherole.”

“You’re going to make me cry,” Daniels said.

“Check it out, dig in, look at what we got here for you,” Gines said.

Daniels says at 60, he’s lived a full life. He was a soldier and toured the world, has a beautiful family, and loves going to work each day.

“I get more fulfillment doing this than anything I’ve ever done in my life,” he said.

And while that stuffed “casherole” was a pleasant surprise on a rainy day, it’s the love shown from the community that means more to him than anything.

“This is nice but that, the kids making the signs, I get more out of that from the community saying we love you. That is icing on the cake but that is the most important thing,” Daniels said.

Monday was dubbed Maurice’s Day. He was given the day off and someone else took over his shift.

Daniels says he still plans to do this job for at least another 10 years and that he and his wife will put the money into savings until they can use it with family once everyone is vaccinated.

And Tipping North Country says they are not going anywhere once this pandemic is over. They say the group brings them too much joy. In the last year, they’ve raised nearly $16,000. All of it has been donated right back into the hands of people in the North Country

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