STERLING – Don Berogan is a bright, warm ray of sunshine on a gray, cold day.
Berogan, 77, of Sterling, is a crossing guard at the corner of LeFevre Road and Sixth Street, right in front of Challand Middle School.
He ushers hundreds of students from three schools across the street every day school is in session, from 7 to 8 in the morning and again from 2:30 to 3:30 in the afternoon.
Berogan is known for his genial personality: He smiles and waves at everyone who passes his post. Most people recognize him. Few know his name.
“I just do it,” he said. “I just smile and wave at everybody. I might not know very many of them, but I still do it.”
Thursday afternoon, Berogan is dressed in a tan Carhartt coverall and blaze-orange hat, with the earflaps secured to the top. His reflective vest and stop sign are the only things that distinguish him as a crossing guard, rather than a deer hunter.
Nearly a half-hour before a single student busted through the doors of the school, Berogan is stationed at the corner. His work doesn’t start until a small pack of kids forms around him, waiting to cross the street.
With every wave of students, Berogan enthusiastically greets them, asks them about their day, then sends them on their way. He walks halfway across the street for just a few students, if they’re all going the same direction, but he heads right to the middle of the intersection for larger groups.
Berogan is retired; he has been for about 15 years. But he prefers to stay busy, volunteering or working part-time jobs.
“I made a remark to my wife a couple times: ‘That’s my kind of job,’” he said. “One day, I went over to the school and asked about it. ... A couple days later, I went to the police department, [which hires school crossing guards], and I got the job.”
Berogan has been a crossing guard for 3 years.
Passersby seem to appreciate the friendly gestures. Bus drivers, parents and even a man walking a dog all exchanged greetings with the friendly crossing guard Thursday afternoon. People smile and wave back “all the time,” Berogan said.
Berogan provides an invaluable service to the school district, said Kathy Howard, principal at the middle school.
“He is very conscientious about his responsibilities on that very busy corner,” she said. “With 762 students from Challand Middle School and some students from Jefferson [Elementary School], along with students from Sterling High School crossing at that corner, he is a very important safety person for many students every day.”