Alan Hunt does what he’s been doing for Mesquite children and residents for many years; he’s seeing them safely across the street. Hunt escorted Cheyenne Johnson and her daughter Crystal across Sandhill Blvd at Old Mill Rd where he’s been a school crossing guard since 2009. The two ladies are on their way to pick up Johnson’s oldest daughter from school. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

Alan Hunt is seen by many Mesquite residents five days a week. When you cross over the intersection of Sandhill Blvd. and Old Mill Rd. during school hours you’ll become acquainted with him by way of a warm smile and a wave as you drive by. If you’re lucky you’ll get to meet the man that always has a kind word as he’s making sure you get safely cross the street. At least you still can until Friday.

Hunt is retiring from his crossing guard duties and the working world for good ‘this’ time. He and his wife are moving back to Salt Lake City to be with his grandchildren and the rest of his family. Hunt said, “We didn’t have grandchildren when we moved here but we do now. My wife and I are excited to move back home so we can spend a lot of time with them.” Hunt admits that he’s not that fond of leaving the beautiful weather here in Mesquite but Salt Lake City is home. He does still have family in Mesquite so he and his wife plan on coming back for a visit.

In 2009 Allen Hunt, or Sarge, as the kids refer to him, joined the ranks of the Mesquite Police Department volunteers by filling “volunteer crossing guard” positions necessary after the City of Mesquite deleted paid crossing guard positions while going through a budget crunch.

Hunt is a retired Army Sergeant and 38-year postal worker from Salt Lake City.

Since his semi-retirement to Mesquite Hunt has kept busy in volunteer positions that benefit our city’s kids. Besides being a crossing guard, Hunt has spent many years umpiring little league.

Mesquite Police Chief Troy Tanner said, “Alan Hunt is a special person and has meant a lot to this department. When we were going through our budget cuts, Al was one of several who didn’t hesitate to volunteer his services to the kids and the community. For almost two years he volunteered his time and though this job was never about the money to him, I’m very happy that we were able to offer him a paid position.”

Tanner said that he just doesn’t know how Hunt is going to be replaced. “He wasn’t just a city employee, just a crossing guard. He was a friend, father figure, and grandfather figure. He would even take the time to help the kids with their homework. He was everything to the kids and to the department. We counted on him to keep the children safe and he took that job far beyond expectations. He used to carry an umbrella with him on rainy days and escort everybody across the street under it. He would often have treats for the kids or just lend an ear whenever they needed one. He could always tell when something was wrong with one of the kids any given day just by looking at them. He knew them well, he loves them all and they love him. There are no words for how much he will be missed; the community’s loss will be largely felt.”

Mesquite Police Officer Justin Goodsell is the School Resource Officer who oversees the school crossing guards. Although the words differ slightly, Officer Goodsell echoed both the basic dialogue and deep emotion Tanner expressed about the retirement of, as Officer Goodsell put it, “A man who is everything to the kids; friend, mentor, protector and umpire.” Goodsell also echoed Tanner’s doubt in finding someone to replace him who is just as good to the kids and community as Hunt has been. “It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack,” said Goodsell, “but I hope we can find someone quickly. The kids are going to need someone really wonderful, especially after the loss of their friend.”

One of the mothers of the children that Hunt has been a good friend with came out on the street Monday morning to take pictures of Hunt with each of the children he crossed the street with that day. Hunt said, “That was very special and something I will cherish forever, along with the memory of the many people I’ve seen over the years and especially the memory of the kids that have been so much a part of my life for so long. It’s very hard and I’m going to miss them all.”