Celebrated Va. crossing guard marks 50 years in Falls Church

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — When Janet Haines started working as a crossing guard in the City of Falls Church, Virginia, in March 1967, man had not yet set foot on the moon.

A lot has changed since then.

A sign celebrating Janet Haines and her 50 years of service to the community. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)

But throughout the decades, Haines has remained a Falls Church fixture during every rush hour at the busy intersection of W. Broad and N. Spring streets.

She marked her 50th year as a crossing guard Wednesday, wearing a wrist band covered with white flowers for the milestone.

“I’ve just enjoyed all of it,” Haines said.

Haines is 91 years old and plans to continue in her position indefinitely.

“As long as I’m well, why not?” she said with a smile.

That smile and her friendly wave are well known in the community.

Haines originally only signed on to be a crossing guard for two years, but she just kept coming back and has helped generations of students safely walk to and from school through rain, snow, sleet and scorching summer temperatures.

“This is what civic duty is all about,” said her proud son, Jim Haines. “The days go by and she never gets tired of doing it.”

Her service has been celebrated in the past and continues to be greatly appreciated by the local authorities.

“In a hectic day, she can bring sunshine to any angry motorist,” said Cpl. James Brooks with the City of Falls Church Police Department. “She’s probably just the sweetest person you can imagine.”

Drivers honked and waved, and Haines was met with pedestrians exclaiming “congratulations” Wednesday morning.

The nearby St. James Catholic School also put up a banner and balloons to honor their longtime, dedicated crossing guard.

“The kids love her and the teachers love her,” said the school’s principal, Sister Mary Sue Carwile. “When she’s not here, we get phone calls in the office inquiring about her well-being.”

“She is not just somebody on the corner; she is an integral part of our school,” Carwile said.

Haines describes the school’s students as always “very pleasant” and “very kind.”

She will turn 92 in May.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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