Mr. Bill Fills the Void at Fort Hunt

Mr. Bill Fills the Void at Fort Hunt

Retiree popular with students at school.

Fort Hunt Elementary School needed a new cafeteria host and Principal Carol Coose worried that they wouldn't be able to find the right candidate. Then Stacie Chandler, educational teaching assistant at Fort Hunt, made a suggestion.

"What about Bill, the crossing guard?"

Coose thought that was a great idea, and immediately went outside to where Bill was crossing students. He applied for the position and now in addition to his crossing guard duties, William J. (Bill) Hanusek has another job,that of the cafeteria host at Fort Hunt Elementary School.

"He was always so nice. He would talk and wave. When the position came open, I thought of him. It's working out great," said Chandler.

Coose agrees, and said, "He's been a wonderful asset. The kids remember him as a crossing guard; they respected him then and they respect him now."

Having two jobs is common for many people, however, not many 83-year old men are working one job, never mind, two.

"I'm going to be 84 years old," he said.

But for Hanusek, it's what keeps him going. His wife died recently, and these two jobs fill a void left by her absence. He does have one daughter, Pamela Reynolds. She and her husband and three children recently moved in with Hanusek. One of those granddaughters, Hayley, just started kindergarten at Fort Hunt, so Hanusek gets to see her on a regular basis.

HANUSEK TAKES his job seriously and said that he has two main duties: to make sure that the students are reasonably quiet, and to help them out when they need help.

"I've only had to blow my whistle three times," said Hanusek, who had been a little nervous after the staff told him how bad it could get," the noise level, that is.

"I'm former military, and I believe in discipline," said Hanusek, who not only retired from the army as a Master Sergeant, but has worked several other jobs since then. He spent several years at Fort Belvoir, both as an instructor in the engineering school and as a consultant in the combat development area. He then spent another five years working for Bloomingdales as a security guard.

"I never stopped working," he said.

When his wife became ill, he left work to care for her. He was out of work for three months when she suggested that she find something to do.

"You have too much time on your hands, why don't you go out and do something?" she told him.

"One of the Fairfax County police officers who he knew talked me into becoming a crossing guard," said Hanusek, who's now in his eighth year as a guard.

He not only crosses students at Fort Hunt, but he is temporarily filling in for the crossing guard at Carl and Collingwood Roads right now.

Then everyday, starting at 10:40, Hanusek prepares for his new job. Armed with straws, forks, spoons, napkins and scissors, Hanusek prepares for the onslaught of hungry students. As they make their way to the table, they know that Hanusek will be there to help. His grandchildren call him "Pap-Pap," but the students call him "Mr. Bill."

He provides students with the necessary utensils that they forgot to pick up, and uses his scissors to open up the packets of ketchup and other condiments. He helps the younger ones open their milk, and gives permission for others to go to the bathroom. At the end of each lunch shift, he checks in with the four students who are assigned to clean their eating area.

"They're not permitted to leave until I tell them," said Hanusek.