STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – Each week in a series called ‘Our Neighborhood Heroes,’ we share stories about people making a positive impact in their community.

In the minds of the teachers and students at Hampton Oaks Elementary School, there is no doubt John Allen, is their hero.

Through all the changes at Hampton Oaks Elementary School, Mr. Allen is the one thing that has been a constant.

For 15 years, Allen has volunteered as crossing guard for the school. The administrators, parents and especially the students feel lucky to have him.

Allen is retired, this job is something that gives him purpose, and keeps him going. Every single day, he is the first smile the kids see.

“We see him every morning, nice and cheery,” said Maria Soeder, a parent.

Each day after crossing guard duty, he heads into the school to help with lunch. Whether it’s opening a bag of chips, or sitting for a conversation, he’s there for whatever the students need.

“A lot of it is just personally knowing the kids,” said Allen.

This year the kids know to cherish each day with him. After this year, he is hanging up his crossing guard vest and moving on to a new chapter. Allen told WUSA9 he loves his job but is ready for a transition.

“Just leaving is going to hurt, but knowing that I gave back to my community, it’s all about giving back,” he said.

Allen plans to help out until the school can find a permanent replacement.