Dozens of friends of “Mr. Mike,” former Elm School students and their parents filled overflow chairs and stood in the back of the room to show their appreciation for the crossing guard at Tuesday’s Community Consolidated School District 181 Board meeting.
“You have been Elm School’s guardian angel,” board member Yvonne Mayer told Mike Smith as she read a resolution thanking him for his service for more than 10 years as crossing guard at 60th Street and Garfield Avenue near the Burr Ridge School. Smith also is battling cancer of the esophagus and undergoing chemotherapy.
The resolution – on behalf of the board, administration, staff, parents and students – thanked Smith for his acts of kindness as well as his steadfast attention to safety, vigilance against vandalism and concern for the security of Elm School.
It cited how he has stopped to greet teachers after school; visited friends and teachers who were sick; drove staff and neighbor to the airport; watered their plants and collected their mail while they were away; rewarded well-behaved dogs with canine treats from his pocket; joined in Elm School festivities; passed out dollar coins and Popsicles to students on the last day of school; and attended Hinsdale sporting events to cheer on local kids.
Smith was praised for watching over Elm School “24/7” - taking his dog, Jack, on walks to checks the doors and windows are closed and locked; chasing down and lecturing kids who were thinking about vandalism around the school; and making sure there were no shenanigans on school property during the evening, weekends or the summer.
“We send our support your way as you go through your treatments and want you to know how much we care. Your corner will be there when you are able to return’ Mayer said, her voice breaking at the end of the presentation.
“You are the best of the best,” said Mayer, chosen to read the resolution because she is a neighbor of Smith.
Mayer said she has known Smith since she moved here 11 years ago. “He’s the most selfless person I’ve met.” She added, “He lives to help people. He’s just a wonderful person.”
Two years ago, her son, Michael, had to write a human-interest story as part of his application to join the Hinsdale Central Advocate newspaper and chose Smith as his subject, she said. Michael now is a senior at the high school.
Audience member Dana Potts said people, “just make it a point to stop,” and talk to Smith. Cars will stop by him to talk and drivers behind it will not even mind, he said.
Students presented him with a banner that says, “Elm Loves Mr. Mike” Mayer said, “It shows how much the kids in the community love you.’
The board took a 10-minute break after the presentation and kids and parents lined up to thank Smith. He then left immediately after.