HADDON HEIGHTS, N.J. (WPVI) -- For 17 years, 84-year-old Elizabeth King of Haddon Heights has been getting up at 6:30 a.m., and arrives early to her post at Saint Rose of Lima School in Haddon Heights with her stop sign in hand.
Back in the afternoon too, the crossing guard meets every child with a greeting and joke.
King explains, "I try to pep them up and get them moving for the day."
Friday was her last day. She said she could have just handed back her sign at the end of the shift saying, "I would rather ride into the sunset like John Wayne or something."
But the students at St. Rose had different plans.
8th grader Anna Dougherty tells us, "She's been here for like 17 years. You can't just let her go quietly! You've got to celebrate that."
5th grader Jessica Moore added, "She has always been so nice to our family."
The school honored Miss Elizabeth in an assembly Friday morning, presenting her with a basket of cards, flowers, balloons, and a lot of respect and love.
Principal Deacon Joseph Rafferty tells us, "She is a hero to this community for all that she has done."
7th grader Becky Ambrose shared, "I think it's important because here at St. Rose, nobody goes unnoticed."
Miss Elizabeth was 67 years old and retired from the insurance industry after 40 years when she was looking for something to do with her time. She responded to an ad for a crossing guard and was assigned to St. Rose of Lima. She started September 2001.
King remembers, "2001. 9/11. I had just started. I always remember the school children coming out and lowering the American flag. And I always remember that."
Throughout the years she has kept in touch with many of her students, watching them grow. She is quick to say hi to parents and neighbors. Even with her ever-present smile, she has taken her duties seriously. She explains, "You have lives in your hands. Kids' lives. And you have to shape them I think, too."
Miss Elizabeth will miss the children, but she's looking forward to the extra free time.
"If I want to go to Boscov's, I can go to Boscov's!"
She adds,"It's not easy, especially when it's five degrees and icy. But it's a wonderful job."
84-year-old New Jersey Crossing Guard Retires