PARKLAND, FL- If you've visited Riverglades Elementary or Westglades Middle School in the last decade, you've probably seen him.
He stands cheerfully at the edge of Parkside Drive and Holmberg Road, taming traffic and ensuring the safety of students on their way to and from school.
Meet Alexander Drogan, who is affectionately known as "Mr. Alex."
"I couldn't stand staying home," shares Drogan. "I love to work. And talking to parents and children, I love it."
Drogan grew up in the New York area and moved to South Florida in 1971 after four years in the Navy and serving his country in the Vietnam War. His time in the military not only gave him a greater understanding of the world, but it also shaped his character.
"I would be nothing without the Navy," he says. "The Navy made me a man overnight. I loved the Navy."
After being based in Alaska, Nevada, and California, Drogan returned to South Florida. He and his wife, Linda, raised their three children, Mary, Alexander, and Diana. He then dove right into parenting, coaching basketball, baseball, soccer, and softball. Linda played a part in the coaching as well.
"Linda was the first women's soccer coach in Parkland," he said.
As the active life of parenting was taking off, Drogan also began a long and fulfilling government career in South Florida that lasted 45 years until his retirement in 2009.
After retiring, Drogan began a new calling in his life -- protecting and caring for students on their way to school. As a crossing guard, he could ensure the safety of children and also spread some cheer at the same time.
"I feel great about protecting them crossing the street," he said.
As Parkland students slowly begin to return to classrooms, "Mr. Alex" will be outside keeping them safe as he always has.
"We have great conversations with the students. They are so respectful," Drogan concludes. "It makes by day."
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