PHOENIX (CBS 5) - Sandy Van Cleave is the school crossing guard everyone knows by name in a north Phoenix neighborhood.

Maybe it's the way she interacts with kids, shakes her hands at drivers going too fast or the crazy hats and costumes she wears on holidays.

[WATCH: Grandmother Pays It Forward to Phoenix crossing guard who helps kids]

"It's a high for me," said Van Cleave. "I get excited. I get to do this, and the good Lord has given me my health that I can do this twice a day."

Rain or shine, the 78-year-old Valley grandmother is a welcome sight to parents and students at Whispering Wind Academy off of 44th Street and Paradise Lane in the Paradise Valley School District.

The conscientious crossing guard has been keeping kids safe for nearly 20 years, and her efforts haven't gone unnoticed.

"I've had students come back, some are in college and some are married," said Van Cleave. "Parents will come back and say, 'Thank you. You did a fine job helping my son or daughter cross the street, and have respect.'"

Peggy Burger has been lucky enough to watch her son and grandchildren walk across the street with Crossing Guard Sandy and wanted to say thank you.

Burger reached out to CBS 5 to Pay It Forward to the one-of-a-kind crossing guard.

"Just the way she dresses up and waves to everybody, and dances around, and does her little Sandy thing," said Burger.

A news crew followed Burger recently when she surprised Crossing Guard Sandy and gave her $500.

"I just sent an email to Channel 5 and told them how wonderful you were, and that you really let everyone in the neighborhood know that it's the kids you're here for," Burger told Van Cleave. "On behalf of Arizona's Family, they have donated $500, and this is for you because of all that you've done."

"I guess the good Lord had me doing the right thing for a long time," said Van Cleave.

"God bless you. I know you've put in more than enough years to deserve this," said Burger.

Jason Barry is best known for his Dirty Dining Report which airs Fridays at 6:30 p.m. on CBS 5.  He is also the storyteller behind CBS 5's Pay It Forward which airs every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.




Jason Barry is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports highlighting local restaurants with major health code violations.

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