By Michael Turton

Tom Herring has been a Haldane crossing guard in Cold Spring for nearly 20 years. He is on duty on Route 9D at Craigside Drive from 7 to 9 a.m., 10 to 11 a.m. and 2 to 3:30 p.m.

Tom Herring (Photo by M. Turton)

What weather do you dread the most?
The winter. In the beginning, it didn’t bother me. But I’m going to be 49 soon. My back is bothering me and the colder it gets, the more it hurts. But then we get a day like today: warm with blue skies. You take the good with the bad.

What are the students like who cross at your post?
Ninety-nine percent are amazing. It’s a small town; people care about their kids and it shows in the way they behave. There’s always a couple who think they’re a little smarter than I am and don’t listen to me. That hasn’t changed a lot over the years. Most kids thank me.

Has traffic changed over the years?
When I started, I didn’t have a stop sign or a vest. I’d walk to edge of the road, put up my hand, and cars stopped. It was a cakewalk. Drivers have changed. Nobody pays attention anymore; they’re in a rush. I see so many close calls. We have that orange barrel on the sidewalk for a reason. If I have traffic stopped, some fool will whip down the shoulder to pass four cars, thinking they’re all waiting to turn. God forbid there’s a kid crossing the road. They slow down because they don’t want to hit the barrel.

Do you help adults cross as well?
I can. We don’t stop the traffic for the kids; we stop the kids for the traffic and cross when there’s an opening. It’s not as easy with adults. They tend to do their own thing. I don’t mess with them unless they appear to need help.

Why do you pace so much on the job?
I started doing that a couple of years ago and I’ve walked off close to 65 pounds. It’s the crossing-guard diet. I should have figured that out 20 years ago. I walk six to 10 miles a day, basically standing still. I get paid to lose weight.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Turton, who has been a reporter for The Current since its founding in 2010, moved to Philipstown from his native Ontario in 1998. Location: Cold Spring. Languages: English. Area of expertise: Cold Spring government, features

2 replies on “5 Questions: Tom Herring”

  1. I wonder if the school signage or the “X-ing” indicators might be improved. Although state speed limit signs in the area indicate a reduced speed during school hours, the precise location of the school buildings, entrances, and road crossings are less than evident to drivers on Route 9D (as well as on Route 301) if they are not already familiar with the layout.

    This, in my experience, is in marked contrast to the vast majority of public schools whose location and main building are prominently in view at the side of the closest roadway, unblocked by other structures. Sargent Elementary in Beacon is another of these rare examples, but it at least has modest signage visible from the road, in this case, again, Route 9D. Haldane has no such signage, at least for the northbound direction prior to the particular crossing discussed in the interview, and none other than the one indicating the football field which while large is at some distance away from and tangential to the direction of the vehicular traffic.

  2. Thank you, Tom! It’s always good to see you in the morning and afternoon. Part of what makes Cold Spring feel safe and secure for our children!

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