Guard-crossed-lovers receive statewide recognition

Published: Nov. 19, 2023 at 11:42 AM EST
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - The Vermont Agency of Transportation and State Highway Office award a little under a dozen outstanding employees every year. In 2023, Wayne King of Rutland Public Schools took home the Crossing Guard Award.

Dedication and perfection: these things take time. Wayne and Marilyn King have been married for 63 years and have been crossing guards for 30 at the Rutland Intermediate School.

As kids walk home, you can hear Wayne King tell students to “Have a great night,” and they’ll usually respond, “You too!”

“I always feel protected. Yeah. I’m a good spit and sputter-er, but we do get along. There’s camaraderie with us,” said Marilyn King, Wayne King’s wife and a crossing guard at Rutland Intermediate School.

Wayne King says he watches over his wife, Marilyn, every day as she guards what some consider a dangerous crossroads.

“On the way to our mom’s it’s a busy road, so yeah. A lot of cars go by,” said Sydney Charron, a student at Rutland Intermediate.

The guard-crossed-lovers met during their college years. In 1960, Wayne spotted Marilyn playing soccer and asked his classmate if she knew her.

“We’ve been together ever since,” said Marilyn King

The two have been public servants in Vermont for their entire careers. Wayne was a police officer, the two were then teachers and now crossing guards.

“We mostly enjoy just working with people. Helping them out,” said Wayne King

“Because you get to get out and have fresh air. You get to see children. And we like the part-time after working full-time for 26 and 30 years,” said Marilyn King

The two haven’t always worked a block away from each other. They’ve both been reassigned stations a few times, but when a spot opened up across the street from Wayne, he called in a favor.

“I keep a good eye out for her. If she makes a mistake, I can call her down and say you missed a child or something. And she does the same to me,” said Wayne King.

When I asked Wayne if keeping an eye on his wife’s work was what won him this year’s VTrans crossing guard award, he said no. Rutland Intermediate Principal Kerry Coarse seems to have it figured out.

“He is such a bright spot to everyone’s day. He is the first smile that everyone sees, and he just makes sure our kids are safe every day,” Coarse said.

The students agree. Connor and Sydney Charron walk home together every day. They say Wayne makes them feel safe, and they like seeing him on their way home.

“Crossing guard nice,” said Connor Charron.

“He stops the cars for us so we don’t get ‘ran-d’ over,” Sydney Charron said.

Vermont’s students are the state’s future. The Kings love seeing them get home safe, and of course, spending the afternoon outside with each other.

“Marilyn, she just complements Wayne so much. They communicate from their blocks away. They take care of one another, and again, just all to help keep our kids safe,” said Coarse.

Wayne and Marilyn King will continue being crossing guards for the rest of the school year, and as their community hopes, for as long as they can.