Trumbull crossing guard has kept kids safe for 49 years

Photo of Amanda Cuda

TRUMBULL — A group of well-wishers — including parents, kids, and the town’s police chief and first selectman — walked from Jane Ryan School to the corner where crossing guard Martha Kaechele stood sentry.

The approaching crowd was coming to congratulate Kaechele on starting her 49th year as a guard for the town of Trumbull.

But as Kaechele saw the group marching toward her Wednesday afternoon, her first thought wasn’t to be amused or flattered. Her first thought was to get her group of fans out of the middle of the road.

“Get on the sidewalk!” Kaechele yelled.

A few moments later, once the group safely reached Kaechele’s corner and explained why they were there, the 81-year-old Trumbull resident was honored and grateful for their appreciation.

Police Chief Michael Lombardo and First Selectman Vicki Tesoro both expressed their gratitude for Kaechele’s decades of service.

“Thank you very much for protecting our precious children,” Tesoro said.

Kaechele said it had been her pleasure.

“I love these kids,” she said. “Why would I sit at home when I can do this?”

Her career began with a tip from her husband’s cousin, who was also a crossing guard, and told Kaechele of a job opening. Kaechele started her long career at Christ the King.

She was there two years, until the school closed. Then she went on to work at Long Hill School, which eventually closed and became the school administration building. Kaechele then went to Daniels Farm School, and eventually to Jane Ryan.

The school kids and their parents have become like family, Kaechele said. Last year, she missed a few days of school due to an illness. Families responded with cards, gifts and flowers.

One of those who came to congratulate Kaechele Wednesday afternoon was Melissa Chamberlin, who is part of the Jane Ryan PTA.

“Ms. Martha has been crossing my family for nine years,” Chamberlin said. “We are so thankful she keeps our families safe.”

Kaechele was given balloons, flowers and other tokens of recognition. Lombardo said it’s always heartening to see someone so dedicated to her work.

“This is just a great part of the job,” he said. “It’s so heartwarming.”