Unsung heroes at the ‘burg: Sandburg’s community service guards

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Unsung heroes at the ‘burg: Sandburg’s community service guards

Emmett Twomey, Features Editor

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Every day, hundreds of Sandburg kids cross from the Jewel grocery store parking lot in order to get to Sandburg, or they cross from Sandburg to Jewel in order to pick up an after-school snack or beverage. As any Sandburg-goer and Orland Park resident may know, not only is LaGrange road eternally under construction, but it’s also one of the busiest roads in Orland Park. The cross from Jewel to Sandburg is a short yet treacherous one, with cars zipping around, whether it be frantic employees who are late for work, or kids from Sandburg who have their licenses, yet still don’t seem to know how to drive. Enter Jim Dunn and Terry Shinour. In case one might not recognize the names, they’re Sandburg’s resident community service guards, who make sure we get across the road safely. It’s important to take some time and be thankful for people like Shinour and Dunn, who spend time out of their day to guarantee we get safe crossing across LaGrange

I was able to sit down, or more accurately, stand on the side of the road with them on their break, and ask both a few questions.

When asked what caused them to be community service guards at Sandburg, Shinour said, “The Orland Park Police Department picks and moves us around wherever they want us…. They asked me to come here, since I was already on LaGrange.”

Both Shinour and Dunn are retired workers who decided to become community service guards at Sandburg. Shinour, a 42-year railroad veteran working as a locomotive engineer at Amtrak, wanted to “keep occupied” and “have something to do” once he retired, and decided to become a crossing guard assigned here at Sandburg. Dunn, a retired teacher, said he “just wanted something to get out of the house.”

Jim and Terry aren’t just rookie community service guards at Sandburg, either. Dunn said that, at Sandburg, “[it’s] been 6 years for me” and Shinour has been working at Sandburg for “3 years coming up this November.”

When questioned about how often the roads and crossing get crazy, Shinour and Dunn, simultaneously chuckling, report that “every day” is insane for both of them. Dunn would also like to mention how often he sees“kids driving terribly,” which Shines immediately agreed with, as it seems to be a common problem around LaGrange.
Shinour said, “A couple I’ve had turned in to our resource officer Scott [Schuster], a couple have gone further.” So, take a word of warning from both, make sure to drive safely. They reminisced about a situation which happened in which a girl made a quick wrong turn in the middle of the road between Sandburg and Jewel, got cut off by another student, and, as Shinour reported, “Would’ve wiped him [Dunn] out, and about 20 other kids” if she hadn’t braked in time.

Before wrapping up the conversation, our two friendly, neighborhood service guards wanted to shout out some of Sandburg’s very own faculty. Dunn shouted out to the famous Mr. Wooley, and explained how he had known him at Marist and as Dunn said, “He’s a great teacher, isn’t he?” Mr. Shinour also wanted to say thank you to Sandburg’s principal Deborah Baker, explaining her kindness to them by bringing them Dunkin Donuts and hats, and he said, “She’s a nice lady, and has been kind to us for these past couple of years.”

I was also able to ask Mr. DeCraene, a dean here at Sandburg, a couple of questions. When asked how Sandburg was before we were assigned guards, he said, “Parents didn’t follow driving rules and students ran across the road without warning. It was awful.” I also asked how effective he thought the guards at Sandburg are now. He said “It’ll never be 100%, but I would say that almost all students or parents who cross into both sides of Sandburg follow the rules thanks to the guards being there.”

To wrap up the conversation, they wanted to mention the kindness of Sandburg students. Dunn said, “About 60% of the kids [they help across]” say thanks to both Shinour and Dunn. And while 60% is good, Sandburg students can do better. Not just for crossing guards like Jim and Terry, but to all the workers who aid students, it’s important to show the gratitude and say “thank you,” as a little thanks goes a long way. Let’s try and bump up that 60% to 100% and make sure we say “thanks” of all these workers do for us.

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