Community gives back to beloved crossing guard duo
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Two beloved crossing guards in Northeast Albuquerque are struggling right now. Charlie and Deborah Gonzales go above and beyond for the students and families at Hubert Humphrey and Dennis Chavez Elementary.
"They’re both our superheroes, and we really like them, and they keep us safe," one elementary student told KOB 4.
The couple has helped children safely cross the street for years – handing out treats, stuffed animals and even making special visits to students’ homes during the holidays.
"They are just some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet," said Hubert Humphrey’s parent, Amanda Slade.
Community members immediately noticed when the Gonzales’ were absent from their usual street corner this week.
"It’s just a hard adjustment when they’re not here, just I love their smiles and they always give us candy," another elementary student said.
Charlie contracted covid-19 last summer, but never fully recovered. Now he uses oxygen—his lungs and heart permanently scarred—but he still returned to his crossing guard duties with a smile.
This week, he got sick again.
"Both Charlie and Deborah are not feeling well right now," Slade said. "Charlie’s been in the hospital for a couple days and Deborah is at home, getting better at home."
Deborah reportedly told Slade that Charlie is still weak but is responding well to treatment in the hospital.
Hubert Humphrey’s parents started a GoFundMe for the Gonzales family last September, to help with their medical expenses. Now, they have increased the goal to $5,000 and are asking for the community’s help again.
"They have sacrificed a lot to be here for the kids, and Charlie will always tell you, ‘I’m here for the kids, I just love these kids so much.’"
The kids want Charlie and Deborah to know, they love them too:
"I hope that you get feeling better, and I hope you will get out of the hospital so I can see your face again."
"I like how you give us candy always and on Christmas you give us peppermints, and I want you to come back from the hospital because I like how you smile because it’s my favorite thing."
"I hope you feel better, and thank you for all the treats and thank you for keeping us safe."
"We just love them and we’re thankful for them and hope they get better soon."
"My family is here for you. I really care about you, so I hope you really get well soon."