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At 100 years old, Greensboro crossing guard still going strong and serving his community

Thomas Faucette of Greensboro recently celebrated his 100th birthday. A World War II Army veteran, he has served as a school crossing guard since 1986.
Denise Allen
for WUNC
Thomas Faucette of Greensboro recently celebrated his 100th birthday. A World War II Army veteran, he has served as a school crossing guard since 1986.

Thomas Faucette moved across his backyard birthday party, greeting guests with ease and a big smile.

He was very recognizable — the cool guy wearing a Black t-shirt with white letters that read: “It took me 100 years to look this good.”

Thomas's wife Elizabeth went all out for the occasion. The t-shirt was a gift from a friend, but Elizabeth gave her husband a baseball cap emblazoned with the words: “100 never looked so good.”

“We’ve been married 51 years, and celebrating his 100th birthday. And it’s a pleasure and an honor that he is still with us," Elizabeth Faucette says. "A blessing.”

Thomas Faucette is a World War II veteran and turned 100 on Sept. 29 this year.

He retired from the U.S. Postal Service in the 1980s and started his second career as a crossing guard for Guilford County Schools soon after, in 1986. These days, he is at Peck Elementary School — a school that is culturally diverse, unlike the segregated one Faucette, a Black man, attended in the 1930s.

His wife, a retired school teacher, gave him the crossing guard idea.

“I like it, I like it," he says. "Instead of staying home looking at the TV, I can come to her school... (as a) crossing guard. I enjoy it.”

His son, Thomas Faucette Jr., says there is no stopping Thomas Sr. He loves seeing the kids every day.

“He has more things to do than we have to do," he says. "Even when it comes down to vacation, he wants to hurry up and come back so he can do the cross guard. He does not want to take off work. It keeps him busy.”

Faucette's daughter, Thomasina Faucette-Hayes, says her father got his COVID-19 vaccine a long time ago, wears a mask to work and is in pretty good health for someone who is a century old.

“We used to call him ‘The Bionic Man’ because of his knee replacements, cataracts, and he had something done with his spine," she says. "We used to call him ‘The Bionic Man’ because he has been re-built.”

Thomas Faucette’s supervisor says the only time he misses his crossing guard shift is when he has a doctor’s appointment.

Leoneda Inge is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Leoneda has been a radio journalist for more than 30 years, spending most of her career at WUNC as the Race and Southern Culture reporter. Leoneda’s work includes stories of race, slavery, memory and monuments. She has won "Gracie" awards, an Alfred I. duPont Award and several awards from the Radio, Television, Digital News Association (RTDNA). In 2017, Leoneda was named "Journalist of Distinction" by the National Association of Black Journalists.
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