Myrtle Burrell didn't want her picture taken. She isn't really interested in a news story about her. She only agreed to talk with a reporter because she had been wondering how best to thank all the people in Le Roy who have been such a big help to her these past few months.
The community rallied around Burrell after her husband, Roy, passed away, followed two weeks later by the death of her lone surviving sibling -- one of six, a sister in Poughkeepsie.
Roy and Myrtle moved into their small ranch house, brand new at the time, on Munson Avenue, in 1954. She worked at the Sylvania plant. He worked for Lapp Insulators.
Eventually, the Sylvania plant closed. Myrtle took a year off, then went to work for the Le Roy PD, first as a dispatcher, then as a crossing guard, a job the 87-year-old Rochester native has now held for 30 years with no plans to quit.
Humble, diminutive, with a lyrical and mellifluous voice, Burrell said she overwhelmed by the generosity being shown her Sunday as a group of high school students and police officers raked leaves and spread mulch in her yard (Bubba's Landscaping donated the mulch).
The spring clean-up was the least they could do for a woman who has given so much to the community, said Officer Eric Miller.
"She's had a great impact keeping kids safe as they go to school in the morning and come back in the afternoon," Miller said. "We just want to give a little back to her."
Student Tom Kelso said he's known Burrell his entire life and understands how much people appreciate her.
"Parents have faith that their kids will get to school safe," Kelso said.
Burrell works three hours and 15 minutes a day on school days, in a morning shift and afternoon shift.
Until her husband died, she had missed only one day of work (Roy, who worked after his retirement from Lapp at McDonald's on the Thruway, never missed a day of work in 17 years at that job).
"I love the kids," Burrell said. "The kids are really fascinating. They know my rules on that corner. They don't want to hear my whistle."
The love is mutual.
Children of all ages sent her cards and letters after Roy died. From the community, she received flowers, well wishes and assistance of all types -- including awning and gutter repairs after a winter storm damaged her house.
"I just don't know what to say," Burrell said. "It's just been something else. Thank God for neighbors and everyone around here in Le Roy. They've been so good to me."