UPDATE: Ashland police chief voted as America's favorite crossing guard
ASHLAND - Every school day, you can find Lyn Woolford at the Henry Clay Boulevard and Liberty Lane intersection directing traffic outside Southern Boone Primary School. A man of many hats, this crossing guard is also Ashland's police chief.
"What I want the kids to know is that officers are your friend. We deal with the bad guys, but we aren't the bad guys," Chief Woolford said. "We're approachable and we're here to help."
He started directing traffic at the four-way stop about six years ago when he took the job as chief in Ashland.
"Nobody knew who I was, so I wanted to introduce myself and solve a problem that would be to everybody's benefit," he said.
His role guiding cars and helping students cross safely lead to him being voted as America's favorite Crossing Guard in a national competition. Safe Kids Worldwide is a non-profit running the competition where the top three crossing guards win money for the affiliated school.
"It's not about me, but I'm glad I can be a catalyst for good things," the chief said.
You could say his fashion sense is partially earning him the top spot.
"He always wears a silly, crazy hat and it's really funny," 5th grader Lynna Purvis said. "It makes me laugh all the time."
Chief Woolford has a collection of more than 20 hats and even big Mickey Mouse hands to help entertain students and drivers while he works in the intersection.
"The chicken I know is very popular," he said describing a handmade hat that looks like a chicken. "This has all been made for me or purchased for me."
The chief has hats ranging from foods like a hot dog hat to animals like a parrot hat. He even has a Southern Boone marching band hat.
Southern Boone Superintendent Chris Felmlee points out the chief plays a civic role, too, as city administrator.