Photo courtesy of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Crossing Guard Supervisor Kathleen Quinn receives her Chief’s Challenge Coin from Chief Deputy Donna Lusczynski of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Last month, during Crossing Guard Appreciation Day, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office recognized the 295 men and women who help children get to and from school safely. One local guard was given a special honor for her heroic efforts that occurred on January 27.

Valrico resident and Crossing Guard Supervisor Kathleen Quinn was awarded the Chief’s Challenge Coin for saving a 7-year-old girl from getting hit by a car. The young girl was crossing the intersection at Culbreath Rd. and Nature’s Way Blvd. in Valrico while walking her bike across the street when a vehicle refused to slow down as Quinn was in the middle of the road with her stop sign raised above her head. Quinn’s quick actions of reaching for the young girl helped prevent a tragic accident.

Sheriff Chad Chronister of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office stated his thoughts in regards to Quinn’s actions.

“Without hesitation, Quinn stepped into harm’s way to protect a child from a reckless driver,” Chronister said. “To add, she is nothing less than a hero.”

Despite only serving two years as a crossing guard, Quinn has numerous reasons as to why she enjoys her job, including that she feels like she is doing something that is helpful to the community by helping the children cross the street and making sure that they are safe.

The young girl’s mother, Mia Carlson, witnessed the incident while waiting for her daughter on the other side of the road. Carlson appreciates what Quinn did. She also expressed that drivers should be more careful, especially when coming into school zones.

“As a mother, I was really thankful for how Quinn was right in the middle of it,” Carlson said.

“I am overwhelmed with pride to say Quinn is part of our team of dedicated crossing guards who treat every child on their route as their own and ensure they get to and from school safely,” Chronister said.

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Tatiana Ortiz is a freelance writer with the Osprey Observer Newspaper. She began as an intern here in 2010 and has been writing since. Tatiana graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys photography, biking and being with her family.