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Published February 16, 2012, 06:10 PM

Grand Forks Sheriff Pulls Double Duty as Crossing Guard

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Friday is Grand Forks Sheriff Bob Rost's 63rd birthday. It's his second year in the role of sheriff, and his fourth year making sure area kids get to and from school safely.

By: Stacie Van Dyke, WDAZ

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Friday is Grand Forks Sheriff Bob Rost's 63rd birthday. It's his second year in the role of sheriff, and his fourth year making sure area kids get to and from school safely.

Every morning at 7:45 you can find Sheriff Rost working hard as a crossing guard and Thursday was no exception.

"Morning, kiddos," Rost said as he greeted students.

The intersection of Schroeder Dr. and Cherry St. may seem quiet now.

"Hey gang, how you doing? Happy Thursday," Rost called out.

But between 7:45 and 8:15 in the morning, it's chaos.

Rost has made it his job to make sure kids cross the street safely to get to Kelly Elementary.

"The amount of kids using the crosswalk wasn't enough. They were crossing in the middle of the street and causing serious traffic problems and somebody's going to end up getting hurt," Rost said.

"He comes with a smile each day and it means a lot to us to have Bob come be a part of our school day here at Kelly," principal Mike LaMoine said.

The school holds a special place in Bob's heart. All three of his kids attended Kelly. While in the race for sheriff, he was criticized by his opponent for acting as crossing guard. But the man with the badge took it as a badge of honor.

"The safety of the kids is huge. That's why I do it. Everybody thought it was a campaign issue because I was running for sheriff. I'm here to make a difference and I'm here to protect the kids," Rost said.

He's also here to take a proactive stance against youth crime.

"I try to get to the kids and be proactive rather than reactive. Law enforcement is not the enemy, we are their friend," Rost said.

"He dresses like Canta Claus on Christmas and gives them candy canes and stuff so it's a good way to start the day even though you're going to a place you probably don't want to go to," parent Toby Schneider said.

"Better hurry up. The last bell's gonna ring any time now," Rost called out.

"I'm really surprised at the amount of names that he knows. He gets to know kids by their first names they refer to him as Officer Bob. There are some great relationships that are made," LaMoine said.

"They look up to me. If they have problems, they'll come and talk to me about it," Rost said.

"I always take the crosswalk. He gives you high fives and he's just a fun guy. Christmas he gives you candy canes, it's all about fun. It's just a great thing for him to do for us. We wouldn't be anything without him," fourth grader Connor Arel said.

"It makes my whole day. It makes the kids' day too," Rost said.

Rost is back in his yellow vest at 3 p.m. when the kids get out of school.

Rost told said he has only missed three or four days a year for the past four years.

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