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Woman looks out for children through wind, rain, cold

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It’s difficult to believe anyone could have been a city crossing guard longer than Dorothy McMillan, who was honored last week for 45 years of keeping kids safe.

But one of the first arrivals at McMillan’s retirement party Wednesday was Lora Mae Lowrey. She’s got an impressive service record, too.

Lowrey, who is 86, has been a city crossing guard for 48 years.

And she’s not ready to turn in her hand-held stop sign any time soon.

“I just like getting up early,” Lowrey said. “I like being around people.”

Back in the 1960s, when she started the job, she was paid $5 a day. But she said it’s not about the money, even though now the pay has increased to about $33 a day.

“I’m going to keep doing this as long as I can,” she said. “The cold weather does bother me sometimes — I wear five layers of clothes — I can deal with wind and rain for a half-hour.”

Columbus Police Chief Jason Maddix said Lowrey and McMillan have the characteristics that are crucial for city crossing guards.

First and foremost, it’s dependability.

The kids, parents and families are depending on those crossing guards being there, Maddix said. Even if the weather is bad, or something comes up, the students’ safety depends on those guards being at the corners to stop traffic for kids crossing the street.

“We do appreciate all they do,” he said.

Lowrey is assigned to Columbus Signature Academy Fodrea Campus at Illinois Street.

“I’m in pretty good health — as long as I can walk, I can do this,” she said.

Her favorite part of being a crossing guard is the tiniest of students.

“Oh, they look like babies,” she said. “I’ve had some nice kids through the years.”

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