He became friends with the singing crossing guard, Latitia "Tish" Jones, who took time away from being a nurse and running a fitness studio to keep kids safe on their way to school.
In the middle of March, LaPella stopped seeing his favorite crossing guard during his walks. That's because the onset of COVID-19 meant there were no children that needed help crossing the road to get to school.
From home, Tish Jones decided she wanted to do something special to let everyone know how much she missed them, such as hanging a banner at the intersection of Pothouse Road and Trotters Drive. To her surprise, Tim LaPella was one step ahead of her.
He painted a rock that read, "We Miss Tish," and planted it on the side of the road. Jones' resulting smile must have been contagious since it started a whole collection of inspirational rocks. Now, members of their community can walk by and read the positive messages painted on each stone. Some even take one home.
"I decided that, if I could cheer just one person up by making these, then my day would be going a little bit better," said Tim LaPella.
This was no surprise to his wife, Nancy, who tells us that LaPella loves his community so much that he often checks in on seniors living nearby. Now considered a "Rock" star by his friends, he otherwise works for a medical advertising company, selling advertising to major healthcare systems that try to attract doctors.
LaPella reunited with his favorite crossing guard this morning when Action News came to share their story. He and his dog, Sandi, refer to her now as "Aunt Tishy."
Even on a dismal rainy day, Jones belted out the famous lyrics of the classic Mister Rogers song, "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" while getting back into the groove of guarding the crosswalk.
Their friendship proves these words are true: "I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you. I've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you."
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