Harman crossing guard honored for service

When you save a life, you can call that a good day’s work. If you saved four lives over the course of 21 years, that’s even more reason to celebrate.

The City of Oakwood declared Sept. 16 Bob Borchers Day. They are celebrating the diligence of a man who spent all those years at the “Five Points” intersection of Far Hills, Oakwood Avenue and Thruston Boulevard as a crossing guard. He was there three times a day when school was in session.

“I pulled one woman back from oncoming traffic, and one girl and two boys away from danger during my time as a crossing guard,” said Borchers. “I feel pretty good about that.”

He had worked as a mail carrier for various Dayton routes for more than 37 years. When he was getting ready to retire, his daughter saw an ad in the Kettering-Oakwood Times for a crossing guard. He applied for it and was interviewed for the job.

“The guy who interviewed me said I have just one more question for you. ‘How are you at handling inclement weather?’ ” said Borchers. “I answered, ‘Didn’t you hear that I’ve been outside delivering mail all this time?’ ”

Two years ago, he dressed up as Santa and handed out candy to all the Harman Elementary kids as they were coming through.

“He was extremely passionate about what he did, and he cared deeply for the kids He had the ability to be the kids friend, so they really enjoyed him, but he also had their respect and did what he told them to do,” said Oakwood city manager Norbert Klopsch. He was extremely reliable and that is critically important for a crossing guard position at the most critical intersection for the elementary students. It really took a person with a real sense of commitment to the responsibility, and Bob had that.”

Borchers said he enjoyed talking with the students and the parents. He also liked the fact that the job left his weekends free so he and his wife could take off in their motorhome.

“To have someone volunteer to be a crossing guard for that long of period of time and do what he did Monday through Friday, rain or shine, was really great. It wasn’t really a dangerous intersection, but it was wide and a little tricky. He did a yeoman’s job with it,” said Oakwood mayor William Duncan.

He would still be on that “Five Points” corner during the school week now, but his wife Ethel suffered a stroke recently. He needs to take time off to take care of her now.

“I was planning on coming back this fall, but I had to quit. I’m really going to miss the kids,” said Borchers.

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