When Dawn Pecora moved to Florida from Connecticut six years ago, she knew she wanted to work outside. Pecora had experience working with children in a special needs classroom at an elementary school, she said.
Pecora did not know anyone around Largo and she wanted to learn more about the neighborhood where her then elementary-aged children would go to school. So she became a school crossing guard through the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, she said.
"I enjoy the children. I love the community. It is a wonderful job," Pecora said.
Pecora is a school crossing guard at Oakhurst Elementary School and Seminole Middle School. She recently received a special award from the sheriff's office for her service.
"(Ms. Pecora) works diligently to keep the student pedestrians safe. One of
her school crossings had its challenges with parking, traffic and neighborhood
concerns. Dawn has always handled herself in a professional manner when
dealing with the school, public and community," the sheriff's office said.
School crossing guards help teach children pedestrian safety. They make children aware of the need to look left, right and left again. Plus, the importance of not running or riding bikes in crossings, Pecora said.
"We start at elementary schools. We hope the children take what we have taught them into adulthood, to make them more aware as pedestrians," Pecora said.
Oakhurst Elementary School thanked the crossing guards recently for their service on the school's message board. Plus, the school delivered breakfast to the crossing guards.
Pecora was one of three Pinellas County crossing guards to receive the Maybelle Rollins Bradford Memorial Award this year for dedicated service to Pinellas County school children. The other recipients were Frederick King in Palm Harbor and Donald Manley in Dunedin.
The Turner family started the memorial award 37 years ago in honor of their mother, Maybelle Rollins Bradford. The Turners observed the care and concern school crossing guards displayed in their contact with children every day.