On the final day of her crossing guard career, Mary Bannister only had to raise her hand-held stop sign a few times.
Well-wishers, parents and students were stopping on their own at Illinois and Brooks Street on Friday afternoon to express their appreciation to a woman who has shepherded students through Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. crosswalks for 37 years.
“Enjoy your time off,” BCSC bus driver Pat Dailey called from the Bus 160 driver’s seat as she passed through the east side Columbus intersection near CSA Fodrea school, and followed it with, “Bye Mary, we love you!”
Bannister closed out her crossing guard career by bringing the treats that she usually distributes at Halloween to the students who walked across Brooks Street. She handed out chocolate bars and popcorn balls to the youngsters as they walked home from school, with the students lingering to take turns for one last hug.
“We’re going to miss you,” Thomas Sebastian, 12, said to Bannister as he embraced her.
For more on this story, see Tuesday’s Republic.