Bundled up to fight the cold weather at her post Tuesday, Marie McBride didn't hesitate when asked what's been most enjoyable about spending 40 years as a Lake Zurich crossing guard.
"Oh, the kids," McBride said. "Some are funny. Some will talk, some won't."
Contact information ( * required )
McBride's 40 years of service as a part-time crossing guard -- a mark she hit Jan. 29 -- established a Lake Zurich village government employee longevity record. Her dedication was recognized at Tuesday night's village board meeting.
Lake Zurich Mayor Thomas Poynton said he accompanied McBride during her Tuesday morning shift in 12-degree weather. He called her a role model for the community before reading a proclamation lauding her public service into the record.
"Very few people can say they have directly helped, literally, thousands of children by performing their daily jobs," said Poynton, who then gathered the five village trustees at the meeting for a photograph with McBride.
McBride said it was nice to be recognized by her longtime employer and that she didn't expect it.
"I'm just doing my job," she said.
About five hours before receiving the village board honors, McBride worked the second leg of her usual shift off Deerpath Road just south of Cuba Road, near Isaac Fox Elementary School. She works from 7 to 8:30 a.m. and 2:15 to 3:15 p.m. on school days.
McBride -- complete with hat, gloves, scarf, heavy coat and reflective outer shell -- stayed in her vehicle until it was time for her to help Isaac Fox's students in kindergarten through fifth grade safely cross at a two-way stop on Deerpath. She said winter poses the greatest weather challenge for her.
"You've got to make sure you're dressed right," said McBride. "We bought umpteen gloves and still haven't got this down pat, I guess. We put the hot pads in there, you know. And still, the tips of your hands get cold."
McBride said her husband, LeRoy, worked long hours in Chicago when she took the crossing guard job in 1974, three years after moving to Lake Zurich. She was a mother of five young children at the time.
"When I was raising my children, it was a perfect job," McBride said, "because it's part-time and it's in the morning and in the afternoon. And then, when school is off, we're off, so it was nice that way."
Another benefit to the job early on was McBride knew her children got to school safely, because all five crossed Church Street when she was assigned to two schools in that area. Her longevity led her to be the crossing guard for three grandchildren.
McBride was hired by former Lake Zurich Police Chief James Zipp. Now working under her sixth boss, Interim Police Chief Kevin Finlon, she doesn't plan on hanging up her stop sign anytime soon.
"It's pretty good," McBride said. "I guess, maybe, I'm where it's getting colder as I get older. When you're young, you can really go. I feel the cold more, but I like the job, I like the kids and I like to keep them safe."