TAUNTON – Rick “Ricky” Spearin sits every morning and afternoon on the corner of Harris and Williams Streets, smiling at his young charges as he makes sure the children arrive safely at Elizabeth Pole Elementary School .
Spearin has been a school crossing guard for Taunton Public Schools for 20 years.
This week, he was one of four crossing guards honored by the Mass Department of Transportation at the Safe Routes to School awards ceremony. Spearin received an honorable mention, with the first prize going to Cambridge school crossing guard Frantz Antoine.
“He is number one in our hearts,” said Brenda Moynihan, assistant superintendent of finance and operations for Taunton Public Schools. “”He is the best. Traffic stops because people stop to say hello.”
“Her smile lights up every person.”
Spearin watched the virtual ceremony at Elizabeth Pole with faculty and staff after receiving applause and warm wishes from students who lined the hallway to greet him.
The Taunton school crossing guard was nominated for this honor by the Elizabeth Pole Parent Teacher Union. Families and staff wrote letters of support as part of the nomination, said PTU member Amy Mattos.
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Spearin, 83, is from Taunton. He and his late wife, Beverly, have two sons, four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Spearin became a school crossing guard after retiring from Southeastern Residential Services (SRS).
Spearin’s current position at Elizabeth Pole, which he has held for two years, is within walking distance of his home. Previously, he worked at several other schools in the district, including Joseph Martin Middle School.
“I love the people I work for,” he said. “I love children.”
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Spearin is on duty each weekday morning at 6:30 a.m., returning when classes end at 2 p.m.
“Ricky Spearin is just the heart and soul of what makes our Patrollers so special,” Superintendent John Cabral said. “He is always there with a smile to welcome the children.”
Managing Editor Donna Whitehead can be contacted by email at [email protected]