PORT ST. LUCIE PEOPLE
The CROSSING GUARD
Musical directors are adept at using their hands
to signal tempo and volume changes. Perhaps
that’s why Joyce Milligan, formerly a music
teacher, makes a successful school crossing guard,
orchestrating complicated traffic patterns in order to protect
the sweetest music of all: children.
Born in West Virginia, Milligan worked at a Dairy Queen
during high school, then at her father’s office. She also
worked brieÁy for a film production company in -acksonville,
where she moved after college and marriage in order
to be closer to her parents. During her subsequent career as a
music educator, she taught music, choir and band in Alabama
as well as in several Florida cities.
“I was teaching middle school band in 3ort St. /ucie and
my parents were living with me,” says Milligan. “I changed
to elementary music so I wasn’t away from home so much.”
Her father passed away in 2011 following complications after
surgery. Milligan cared for her mother for the next five years
before she also died.
When Milligan retired from teaching, she wanted to do
something. Paying a bill one day at the city building, she
asked an employee if there were any job openings posted.
“She said, ¶1o, but if you want to apply as a crossing guard,
we’re taking applications.’”
Although crossing guards work outside schools, they don’t
work for the school board. 'iffering from area to area, 3ort
St. /ucie 3olice 'epartment hires, trains and supervises local
guards. The background check is extensive. “They contacted
friends whose names I hadn’t given as references, talked to
my neighbors, fingerprinted me.”
-enny Salena is Milligan’s supervisor. “&rossing guards
play a vital role in the community. They get to know the kids
and can sometimes sense that there’s some kind of trouble
going on with them.” And the kids get to know them, too,
52 Port St. Lucie Magazine
BY ELLEN GILLETTE
ELLEN GILLETTE PHOTOS
On school days, Joyce Milligan directs traffic at one of the busiest posts in Port St. Lucie. Sundays, she is a church pianist. Whether stopping a truck, playing
a song, or crocheting an afghan, her hands are usually active.