Sixteen veterans have gone from serving the United States of America to serving as crossing guards in the Grand Prairie Independent School District and protecting children.
The veterans, among about 80 crossing guards who serve the district, represent every war since World War II, according to Grand Prairie Police.
"One of the things I miss the most about it (the military) is the sense of purpose," said James Epps, a retired Chief Petty Officer with the Navy who served during the Cold War. "One of the things I like about being a school crossing guard is that it does give me a sense of purpose."
Epps said some of the children understand he is a veteran, but they don't know the whole story. Still, they can learn from him each morning when the flag is raised.
"When they raise the flag, Boy Scouts and old veterans stand up and salute," Epps said. "I don't have to do it, but the kids see it and I want the kids to see it."
Otis Dean, a retired Staff Sergeant with the Air Force who served during Vietnam, said his mornings and afternoons spent helping students are rewarding.
"It's a lot of fun. They'll ask you questions," Dean said. "'What have you done in your life?' and stuff like that. That was surprising to me."
All of the veterans said over time they build a relationships of sorts with some of students they help safely cross.
"These kids are our country," said Peggy Kilcrease, a retired Army Lieutenant who served as a nurse in Vietnam. "They are our country. They will be our future. And if we don't protect them I don't know of anybody else that will other than their parents."