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Chrysler's Elementary Dad's Club are the persons of the year

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Love the people who treat you right.

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Pray for the ones who don't.

Believe everything happens for a reason.

[And] if you get a second chance, grab it with both hands (Rowe, 2011).

Accordingly, this article denotes a second chance to honor the Detroit Public School’s Chrysler Elementary Dad’s Club. The first article was published Oct., 2011.

Yesterday, Time Magazine unveiled their person of the year as Pope Francis. stated that this [unveiling] is “…a widely watched annual ritual.”

This Examiner does not have an annual ritual per se like Time Magazine; however, there are a group of distinguished gentlemen who are worthy of being bestowed with “persons of the year.” They are closer to home and bit more reticent about their impact on others.

And so the story goes

Recently, a friend of mine said that he stopped at the Chrysler Elementary School one morning to ask the men that were providing curb service and helping students out of cars, who they were. My friend was referring to the Detroit Public Chrysler Elementary School’s Dad’s Club.

The Chrysler Dad’s club consists of a dozen or so men whose children attend Chrysler. The club members ensure that all children are safe when coming to school. Whether a child is walking to school or being dropped off by a parent or guardian, the Dad’s club is there to oversee, protect, and safeguard each and every child.

These men ask for no fame, or accolades. They provide a voluntary service that goes overlooked, but without their contributions the Chrysler students might be overlooked.

The honorees are…

Watching the Dads each week day while dropping off my grandson has given rise to some very poignant observations.

Paul Turner can be seen many days holding up a STOP sign for oncoming traffic as the students enter the cross walk. He might look mean, but he is not---he just means business.

Gary Shields is a greeter extraordinaire. He knows each child by name and as he opens the car door, his jovial manner, big smile, and warm greeting would put any grumpy first grader in the best frame of mind.

The sergeant at arms is Officer Lewis Jackson. He oversees the entire operation and is always on cue when a child is not wearing his or her hat or is lagging too far behind. Jackson’s stoic expression can readily give rise to a witty sense of humor.

William Pugh generally stands between the curb and the school. He is an added security measure for the children while ensuring the parents of the students’ safe passage. A neck tie and overcoat sets Anthony Butler apart, as he can be seen many mornings watching with the eyes of eagle while standing his ground. On the morning that I was taking pictures of the Dad’s, Pugh started teasing Butler, telling Butler that he dressed up for the camera. As a result, the camaraderie among the men sustains a unified operation.

Phillip MacLean towers at least six feet plus, and he is always stationed on the school walkway to provide a smile and an extra guarantee that the children are indeed going in the school. MacLean is a modest and soft-spoken man; yet, his presence should not be under minded.

There are also team members in the club that this Examiner refers to as point men. Eric Clark, James Bowen, Kenneth Young, and Demiris Brown, stay on point to observe and escort, as their presence lets on-lookers, passer-byers, and the immediate public know that Chrysler’s students will be safe. Equally important has been the service of Wesley Haynes as a Dad’s Club member too.

Ian Slaughter and Clarence Raymond Jones are not bona fide card carrying members of the Dad’s club, but their presence in the school on any given day provides a sense of security and stability for the staff and students. Principal Wendy Shirley and Academic Engagement Officer Kurtis Brown are the filaments that connect the entire Chrysler School community together.

Shirley works a 12-hour-day to keep Chrysler academically proficient. Brown moves around the school like a road runner and he is definitely a constant in the formula which adds to the dynamics of Chrysler’s success.

All Chrysler staff, inclusive of janitorial, secretarial, dietary, teachers, and teacher aids are there for the support and safety of our youngsters.

And the winners are…

Having a Dad’s Club in every Detroit Public School should require little or no thought. There are no salaries to negotiate. There are no contracts to draw up. There aren’t even any standardized tests to administer. What is required is a supportive and progressive staff along with a core of concerned parents and guardians who want to ensure that their children and their children’s classmates have a safe educational experience in the City of Detroit.

Dear Dad’s

“You never know how many children, parents, passer-byers, or strangers walking down the block have been influenced by your presence. To be sure, no one knows how many fights, abductions, or questionable behaviors you prevented by being pro-active. Keep up the great job because the price of a child’s safety, well- being, or life cannot be measured. To this end, you are recognized by this Examiner as “persons of the year” for 2013”.


Rowe, B. (2011, August). Something Worth Repeating.



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