Meet the local crossing guard who has spent 50 years helping kids stay safe while walking to school

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Thousands of kids across the metro ditched the cars and buses Wednesday and walked to school.

In Independence, the William Chrisman High School cheerleaders, football player and marching band escorted elementary school kids and their parents. So did police to make sure they all stayed safe.

They thanked one woman whose been a crossing guard for 50-years, showering her with gifts and thanks for keeping these kids safe.

"I've enjoyed it, I enjoy the kids, enjoy the people, get out, I'm 83 years old and I get out the same time and just keep going," crossing guard Sandra Bellew said.

This event has been going on nationally since 1997 - and more than 5,000 communities - including many in the metro - are hosting similar walking events Wednesday.