Windsor crossing guard 'Miss Val' helping kids along the road for 10 years, considers them family

·1 min read
Valerie Derbowka said she'll continue to be a crossing guard as long as she can. (Jason Viau/CBC - image credit)
Valerie Derbowka said she'll continue to be a crossing guard as long as she can. (Jason Viau/CBC - image credit)

Equipped with an electric whistle, hand-held stop sign and bright yellow vest, Valerie Derbowka considers the kids and parents she helps safely cross the street part of her family.

More commonly known as Miss Val at the corner of Eastcourt Drive and Atwater Crescent in east Windsor, Derbowka has been there for the last 10 years for just about each day before and after school.

"I enjoy the children because I'm a grandmother so they're like grandchildren to me too," said Derbowka, adding that it makes her feel "warm in my heart."

Jason Viau/CBC
Jason Viau/CBC

Always armed with a smile, Derbowka has built connections in the community and with many of the children. She knows most of their names and has seen many of the kids grow up before her eyes.

Jason Viau/CBC
Jason Viau/CBC

Some have even written her letters of gratitude for always being there.

"Thank you for being so kind and always helping students cross the road," one letter read.

"She keeps everyone safe to go to school. Thank you crossing guard," another note said.

Jason Viau/CBC
Jason Viau/CBC

Those kind words are just a few of the things that keep her coming back each morning and afternoon.

"As long as I'm well, I'll be here," she said, adding the only time she misses a day is for a medical appointment.