Alice Ratzel has been a crossing guard at Destin Elementary since 1996. In that time, the impact she has had on students goes far beyond making sure they cross the street safely.
For the past 21 years, crossing guard Alice Ratzel has been devoted to making sure students get to Destin Elementary School safely.
Ever since April 1, 1996, Alice has made sure Destin Elementary School students safely cross intersections. She currently controls traffic on Beach Drive and Kelly Street.
“She is very open-minded about training and knows how important it is to renew the annual crossing guard training,” said Karen Jankowski, the city’s human resources and risk manager. “She has been doing it for so long I don’t think she even needs (the training).”
Jankowski said Alice is always out there no matter what the weather might be like.
“Rain or shine, hot or cold she will be there,” she said. “She is really dedicated to those kids and makes sure they are safe.”
Alice said after retiring in Destin, she felt like she needed to do something to give back to the community.
“My husband saw the job opening in the paper and got it for me,” she said.
Alice said she has helped generations cross the street throughout the years at Destin Elementary School.
“Many have gone to the military, gotten married and still come back to see you and say you are still here,” the 75-year-old said.
Students pay close attention to every safety instruction Alice gives.
“They even tell their own parents to stop and not cross until I them it’s OK to go,” Alice said.
She also makes sure all students are following safety measures, that includes when they're riding their bike to and from school.
“They have to have a helmet on when riding their bikes. If not then I will send them back home and make them come back with a helmet on,” Alice said. “If it’s the first time they forgot their helmets, I will give a warning.”
Alice said all of her kids have complete trust in her and know they will be safe around her.
“They tell me everything that is going on in their lives. I don’t even have to ask them,” she said.
Alice said she will continue to be there for the children and for future generations.
“I am going to keep doing my job until I simply can’t do it anymore,” she said.