PESHTIGO, Wis. (WFRV) — A Peshtigo school crossing guard has been nominated as America’s Favorite Crossing Guard.
Gail Bantes, 82, has spent her life helping her community and guaranteeing the safety of children.
For 42 years, Bantes was a bus driver. She then became a crossing guard for the City of Peshtigo, serving the Peshtigo School District for the past several years.
In February, a vehicle struck Bantes while she helped three children cross the street, and now she’s nominated for a national honor.
“I didn’t know if she was going to stop or not,” said Gail Bantes, the crossing guard that fateful February day. “And so I just kept going with the kids and I said, ‘Go, girls, go!'”
The conditions on February 15th were snowy and hazardous.
“And I put my hand out as if I was going to stop this car,” she said. “And she bounced right across the back of me. And I landed out on the side of the road by the snow bank.”
Bantes was taken to the hospital and treated for her injuries, which included a cracked vertebrate.
“And I still had my stop sign in my hand and just saying that, ‘I’m OK!’ and others were saying, ‘No you’re not. No, you’re not.'”
She made it out of the hospital in just a couple of months, saying that she had too much work to do to be in bed all day.
“I just thought it was something I should be doing and I enjoyed doing [it],” she said.
The Safe Kids Marinette County coalition nominated Bantes for those heroic efforts.
The top five crossing guards across the United States with the highest number of votes will be judged by a panel to determine the final winner of the contest. Safe Kids will come to the winning school to celebrate with a pep rally and award ceremony. The winning crossing guard will receive $500 worth of new crossing guard gear and accessories.
The public is invited to vote online through December 12 by visiting Safe Kids Worldwide’s website.