Shining Star: Sheila Long

Sheila Long is making a huge impact on students as a longtime school crossing guard.

A Weirton woman says it was her dream to be a teacher.

And while you won’t find Sheila Long in a classroom, she's still making a huge impact on students as a longtime school crossing guard.

On weekday mornings and afternoons, you'll find her at the intersection of Euclid Avenue and Brightway along Marland Heights in Weirton.

“People say I know their cars more than I know their faces,” she said. “Everybody waves, they say ‘I know who you are,’ and I say ‘what kind of car do you drive?’’’

Long sees to it that students make it safely off the bus and across the street.

“Many times I've had to jump out of the way, or push them out of the way,” Long said. “I always tell them, ‘listen to the rules because I don't want anything to ever happen to you.’’’

Donning a bright yellow vest, she's done the job for decades.

“I've had two (kids) graduate already, one is ready to graduate this year and one's a 4th grader. She's been wonderful,” parent Sharon Krutilla says of Long.

“They're family,” Long said. “I still talk to (them). I love the kids. That's just me. So it keeps bringing me back.”

Long gets a second helping of students at lunch time, as a cook in the cafeteria at Weir Middle School.

“She gets our food ready. Whenever I go up sometimes she comes around and gives me a hug to feel like I'm home or here getting off the bus, and it's just a really special feeling to me,” student Kylie Dean said.

That special attention is appreciated by parents like Carlo Volhl, who waits for his 9-year-old son to get off the bus each day.

“She watches him evolve, getting him to say hello to her, which is thing we've been working for on while,” Vohl said. “He's autistic, but she handles him really well.

“A real feeling of community here with everybody, and it's nice to have someone like that on your side.”

And these kids know Long pulls out all the stops.

She often takes the students for ice cream, at the nearby Marland Heights Pharmacy.

“She's the most selfless person, and giving person, and caring,” parents Lesley Michaud said. “She's just wonderful.”

“She has donuts in the morning and drinks for them, she's just amazing,” Krutilla said.

And the cherry on top? At the end of the school year, Long finds another special way to celebrate the kids hard work with water!

“There are big buckets of water. She brings about 20 or 30 water guns, and everyone brings water balloons and guns and we all have a water fight,” student Darren Thompson said.

This week’s Shining Star is a charismatic crossing guard, finding ways to spread love with a little direction.

“Kids need love, and you just need to show them love and that makes me feel good,” Long said. “When I go home at night and lay my head on the pillow, and know I did what God wants me to do and these kids know their loved.”

Sheila is also a youth ministry leader in Weirton through the Awana organization and carpools kids to the program on a weekly basis.

She cares for her elderly mother at home, and has a daughter off at college, but says all the kids in her neighborhood are like her own.

If you know someone, who goes above and beyond at their job, like Long, let us know. Nominate your Shining Star here. You could see them featured right here on NEWS9.

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