The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.skelton.vigil
    MORENCI’S three Skelton brothers were remembered with both tears and laughter last week during a candlelight vigil at Wakefield Park. Several people came out of the crowd to give their recollection of the boys who have now been missing for five years.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.

Safe Crossing: Ralph Piercy nears the end of his many years as Morenci crossing guard 2013.05.15

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN ralph 

There’s one thing Morenci Chief of Police Larry Weeks never has to worry about on school-day mornings. He knows Ralph Piercy will be on the job at the intersection of Main and East streets to help children safely through traffic.

That goes for the afternoon, as well. Ralph has been there every day for nine years. 

“There was never a concern that he wouldn’t show up,” Chief Weeks said. “It’s a position I never had to worry about. It’s just unbelievable that someone would get out there in all weather conditions, and for someone his age, it’s really remarkable.”

Well, there was one day when Ralph, 83, slouched off and missed, but he made sure someone would be there to take his place.

“I only missed one day,” Ralph said. “I went to the zoo with the senior citizens.”

Ralph agrees that the police didn’t have to worry about him being on the job, but it wasn’t that way at first.

“It’s funny,” he said, “the first six months or so the police drove by every day to make sure I was there.”

Eventually, they just knew he would always show up.

“It’s been a really good thing to do,” Ralph said. “I love every one of those kids and I have a great time.”

He’s watched many of the kids grow over the years, and one of them once reminded him of that.

“Last year one of the girls said, ‘You started me in kindergarten.’ They don’t forget you,” Ralph said.

It’s always fun when a student spots him somewhere else in town when he’s not on the job.

“They know me and they let me know it,” he said.

He recognizes the faces, but he doesn’t know them all by name.

Some of the students are closer than others, he said, and a few coming running with their hands up half a block away, ready for a hug.

Once or twice a year Ralph buys a box of suckers and lets the kids take one—at least they’re supposed to take one. Many kids will mention their brother or sister at home and take an extra one or two. It doesn’t bother Ralph. He just enjoys making them happy.

Ralph often gets asked about standing out in the cold weather, but he doesn’t see it as a problem.

“I dress for it,” he says. “I don’t mind the winter at all.”

There was a day about seven below zero that was challenging, but it’s the wind-driven rain that’s the toughest weather to work in.

“You can’t hold an umbrella or it will take you right down the street,” Ralph said.

Before he accepted the job, people told him he would be sorry, that the kids would try to “run all over him,” but that hasn’t been the case. The children are always well behaved, he said, and haven’t given him any problems.

“I’ve enjoyed every day of it,” Ralph said. “I love the job, but I thought I would take a break.”

When school closes for the year next month, Ralph is retiring from the job. That has Chief Weeks worried about finding a new crossing guard who can match Ralph Piercy’s dedication.

Ralph offers some advice to his successor: “All they’ve got to do is be the kids’ friend and they love you for it.” 

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016