By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Daily Republican
Ken Nettleton (in purple) is delighted that the Crossing Guard Picnic he started 50 years ago is still going strong to celebrate kids who help other kids in Boone County.


Anyone who passed by the Boone County Fairgrounds on Tuesday, May 8 would have seen school buses, Belvidere Police Dept. vehicles, and Boone County Sheriff’s Dept. cars. The occasion was the 50th Annual Crossing Guard Picnic.

The event was originally started in 1968 when Boone County Sheriff’s Deputies Ken Nettleton and Neil Magnuson decided to do something nice for the elementary school crossing guards. “It was three years after I joined the Sheriff’s Dept.,” said Nettleton. “It got to be a big deal. By 1974, the mayor would come out and cook hot dogs.”

Belvidere Police Sergeant Dan Smaha said, “It is a city/county venture now. In 1968, Nettleton started the Patrol Boy picnic and the big prize was a bicycle. As it progressed through the years, Dispatch and Records took it over from the Sheriff’s Dept. for about 20 years. The Belvidere Police Dept. got to help out and we’ve been doing it ever since.”

“It’s kind of nice,” Sheriff Ernest said, “seeing officers who went to the Crossing Guard Picnic as kids now coming back to work it from the other side. I wanted to be a crossing guard so bad. It was a big deal. You had to write an essay to become a crossing guard.”

“It’s great just to get together with these kids,” said Sgt. Smaha. “They are out in the rain and the cold, helping kids across the street.”

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Daily Republican
Crossing guards raced out onto the fairgrounds to pick up any trash and leave it better than they found it.

“Sgt. Smaha has done a lot of work,” said Belvidere Police Deputy Chief Wallace. “He has worked hard at…

For complete article, pick up the May 16 BDR.

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