When We Met
I met Jesse Posey just before the bell rang at Kimberly Elementary School. He was standing on the side of Main Street near Ridley’s Family Markets. He wore an orange and yellow vest over a black track suit with orange stripes, and held a stop sign as tall as him.
Posey, 83, has been the crossing guard for Kimberly Elementary for six years. He learned about the job one day while walking to the post office. The crossing guard at the time told him he was moving and Posey should apply for the job.
“I applied and I got,” Posey said. “I’ve really enjoyed it. I thought it would be a short fill-in thing.”
On Nov. 15, Posey was on duty at what he called the busiest intersection in Kimberly. And he wasn’t exaggerating, as the small two-lane road quickly filled with vehicles and pedestrians.
As children filtered from the school — some walking alone and some with their parents — Posey watched for them, ushering them across by walking to the middle of the crosswalk with his sign.
“I feel important doing this job because I control the traffic and I control the kids,” he said.
One time, he said, he saved a boy from getting hit as he walked behind the cars in Ridley’s parking lot. The person behind the wheel couldn’t see the boy while backing up, and Posey said he ran as fast as he could with his stop sign to warn them.
“You feel good when you do something like that,” he said. “It’s a great job for someone in a small town, and I’m a people person.”
One of Posey’s favorite parts of his job is in the morning when the kindergartners walk by saying, “Good morning, Mr. Posey.”
He remembered one girl in particular, who he said never made eye contact. Every morning, Posey said, he greeted her while she shyly passed by. One day she came up to him, beaming and looking him in the eye, and handed him an envelope. Her note said: “To the best crossing guard in the whole world.”
Why You Might Know Him
Posey served two terms as the mayor of Kimberly from 1985 to 1995. Before that he worked as a post office clerk in Kimberly from 1948 to 1967 and was postmaster for 18 years before he retired in 1985.
Posey was also the president of the Kimberly High School alumni association for a number of years. He graduated in 1948 with a class of 25 students. When the number of graduating classes exceeded 100, he said, it became too much for one person to handle. Now the president of the alumni association is decided on by each graduating class.
When We Said Goodbye
Posey said he still recognizes many people in the community he knew while working in the post office during the ’50s and ’60s. Now, he said, he is getting to know those people’s grandchildren.
As we said our goodbyes and I made my way back to my car, Posey said, “Here, let me walk you over.” And he put up his stop sign.
Tell Tetona Dunlap whom she should meet next for her weekly column: 735-3243 or email@example.com.