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Norwalk Crossing Guard Embraces Cold, Snow

Don't tell Herman China that the winter weather is nasty. He spends about two hours a day standing in it and thinks it's fine. "As long as it's not raining, not slippery or sliding, I'm all right," China said Wednesday as he used an umbrella to shield himself from the falling snowflakes.

China's face is familiar to many children: He is in his seventh year as a Tracey Elementary School crossing guard. He's impressed that the kids recognize him when he's out and about, such as at the Dunkin' Donuts on West Avenue. He is also surprised that the children bring him Christmas gifts. "The mother and father, they bring the kids to bring the gift," he said. "I say, 'Wow, this is great.'"

One little girl brought him flowers and others brought candy. But China never gives them anything back. He doesn't want to set that precedent for the children, and he doesn't want them to take gifts from adults they don't know well.

China has lived in Norwalk since 1961. He's retired and used to love having a big garden. He loves being a crossing guard. "It's just ordinary," China said. "It's like a job; I'm doing the benefit of the public, of the kids. If they don't see me out here, they'll be looking for me."

A firefighter gave him a tip for the cold climate: hand warmers in his gloves. But it isn't that he's enduring the weather. He prefers it. "It kills a lot of bacteria, the cold weather," he said. "Cold weather, I'm good."

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