Tammy Mutasa, Garland/Mesquite Reporter
Jerry Rice, 69, is volunteering at his granddaughters' elementary school in Garland as part of a national program called Watch DOGS, which stands for "Dads of Great Students."
A Garland grandfather has helped teachers at his granddaughter's school for 400 hours in the last three years.
Jerry Rice is one of the Watch D.O.G.S., which stands for Dads of Great Students.
At 69, he has been out of the classroom for a while, but has been helping students at Pearson Elementary School learn, patrolling the halls and working lunch duty.
"You can't put a price tag on things like that," Rice said. "If you've never done it before, you have no idea what you're missing."
Fathers, grandfathers, stepfathers, uncles and other father figures volunteer through Watch DOGs to serve at least one day in a variety of school activities, serving as an extra set of eyes.
A "Dads and Kids Pizza Night" event recruits potential members each year.
A district-generated background check is required before enrolling in the program.
"It makes me feel really, really happy and everything, because everybody knows he's here, and everybody knows that he's the watchdog of me," said Rice's granddaughter, Avery.
Rice is celebrating 400 volunteer hours, nearly 200 just this school year -- the most out of the Watch DOGS in the Garland school district.
"It's one of the most rewarding things I've ever done, because I couldn't do this for our kids," he said. "Because most dads today, if you've got a job, you want to keep it, and now ... I can do this for Avery."
Rice is creating special bonds with other children, too. There's always hugs and treasures for a hero in the hallway.
"I know all the school loves him, and so do I," Laya Duguid said. "I like him because someone cares for me that much, and it's a honor to have him here."
Rice earned an outstanding Volunteer award from the school district's Council of PTAs in the 2011-12 school year.