Just like a guardian angel, every weekday morning and afternoon you’ll find Dean Healey guiding children across Northlake Road as they go to and from Springhill Elementary.
Dean has lived in Saline County for 8 years, moving here right about the time he retired from Timex Corporation after 42 years of service. Even though Dean’s career ended, his involvement in the community and investment in the lives of others was just beginning. “I initially started volunteering with the Watchdog Dad’s group at Springhill Elementary, doing odd jobs within the school a couple of days a month. My granddaughter attended Springhill and I walked her to school several days a week. I began to notice how much traffic was on Northlake and the difficulty our neighborhood kids had crossing the street, so the next morning I started stopping traffic by holding my hands up. That afternoon one of our neighbors brought a safety vest and stop sign to our door, and I have been doing it ever since.” Dean has been volunteering as the crossing guard on Northlake Road for 5 years now.
Dean’s service to the children, their families and the school, goes well beyond the act of escorting the students to ensure their safety; it provides all involved with peace of mind and his actions are an example to others of a true servant’s heart. “I have been blessed in so many ways, it is important for me to give back. I hope it gives the students a feeling of security knowing that I am there. I also hope they learn the joy and importance of doing for others; that a ‘good morning’ and a smile mean a lot, and dependability is important.”
Through Dean’s desire to serve others, he has made lasting memories for himself, the students and anyone driving on Northlake in the morning and afternoon. “I was absent for a week earlier this year while my wife and I were out of town, and one of my ‘little guys’ told his grandmother I was on a ‘field trip’”. On the days Dean does have to be absent, his sister Claudia Counts and neighbor Julian Jones fill in so the kids will know someone is always there.
Dean will tell you that everyone can find a place to serve. “I am no expert, but I think if you just look around with an eye toward serving, you can find your niche. I am very grateful for mine. Hopefully I can continue well in the future, talking to kids in the morning and evening and waving to innumerable cars everyday sure makes for an enjoyable day.”