The ability to travel to and from school safely is an important element in maintaining healthy and vibrant communities, and is also part of AAA's mission of providing safety, security and peace of mind to members and the traveling public.

Crossing guards play a vital role in the community because of their dedication to our children's safety as they go to and from school. Rain or shine, crossing guards are there every day to perform a valuable service, even withstanding Arizona's brutal 100-degree-plus temperatures, to ensure children get to and from school safely.

Therefore, in honor of their dedication, AAA is continuing the quest to honor the best of the best guards, through the fourth annual AAA Crossing Guard of the Year Award. AAA is accepting nominations for this prestigious award. School administrators, faculty, staff, parents, students and community members are invited to nominate candidates they believe deserve the "Crossing Guard of the Year" designation. Self-nominations are also accepted.

AAA Arizona traffic safety staff will evaluate nominations to select recipients for the award based on dedication, friendliness, professionalism and safety, as outlined in AAA's Handbook for Adult Crossing Guards.

The honors will be awarded to two guards, one from Maricopa County and one from Pima County, who demonstrate the best example of the procedures and responsibilities. The winners will be announced on Crossing Guard Appreciation Day, April 29. Winners will receive a recognition plaque and a $100 Target gift card.

Last year, AAA bestowed the award to Lena Dougherty of Val Vista Lakes Elementary School in Gilbert, and Jim and Kathy Koellisch of Coyote Trails Elementary School in Tucson, after receiving nearly 200 nominations from students, parents, community members and school faculty.

Nomination forms are available at Maricopa and Pima county school district offices or from AAA by calling (602) 241-2945. Completed forms can be mailed to AAA Arizona, Attn: Public Affairs, 3144 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, AZ., 85013, faxed to (602) 776-0466, or e-mailed to Nominations must be submitted by March 11.

If you know crossing guards in your neighborhood that deserve to be recognized, please take a moment to thank them for their selfless service and submit a nomination on their behalf. It only takes a few minutes, and this kind gesture truly makes a difference in ensuring these guards feel appreciated for their commitment to a safer community.

Linda Gorman is the communications and public affairs director for AAA Arizona. Reach her at (602) 650-2716 or


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