For the past ten years, Fetene Yezengaw has stood at the same corner every day.
As a crossing guard for Harvard Elementary School, Yezengaw watches the comings and goings of the students, making sure they get to and from school safely.
But there's something special about this crossing guard. What the average passerby might not notice is that Yezengaw is missing a leg.
When Yezengaw was 15 years old, according to the Leader News, he was forced to leave his parents.
“My parents were poor and by the time I was old enough I started raising and working for myself.”
After being recruited as a child soldier during the Ethiopian Civil War, Yezengaw stepped on a landmine and lost his leg at age 17. When the war ended in 1991, the young man spent twelve years in refugee camps in Kenya and Uganda before finally making it to America.
His difficult past, however, has not affected his attitude. As a crossing guard, he has made it his mission to make children happy. He tells ABC 13:
“Every time I see a kid, I just want to see the kid smile.”
And both parents and students believe he his doing that job quite well:
“Fetene is divine light. He is so engaging.”
“He's really funny and he makes me laugh and he makes other kids laugh.”
“He's a gregarious, energetic crossing guard who happens to have a disability. You wouldn't know it.”
But Yezengaw is also in pain, and is in need of a new prosthetic leg. Noticing the man's plight, the students in Harvard Elementary School's “Girls on the Run” running group have decided to help.
In addition to starting a GoFundMe page, the girls are having a bake sale to help raise money to cover Yezengaw's medical expenses.
So far, they have raised over $8,000.
Knowing that the community stands behind him means the world to Yezengaw.
“It makes me cry,” he says.