2015-01-09 / Front Page

Michelle Danois wins Great Person Award

By Duke Harrington
Staff Writer

SOUTH PORTLAND — When notified Monday that she won this year’s “Great Person” contest in The Sentry, Michelle Danois had one word — “Wow.”

After all, the award did not come from lack of trying. Danois said she actually made copies of the official ballot and voted for each of the other three nominees.

“A friend said to me, ‘Why are you voting for the others, that’s crazy,’ but I said, no, these are the real heroes of our community,” said Danois, on Tuesday. “I know each of them. Everyone in South Portland does what they can do, when they can, but these three are all just the best, the most wonderful people.”

The other nominees for The Sentry’s 2014 Great Person award were Mary Lou Fathke, Chuck Igo and Bill Linnell.

“Wow,” said Danois, before pausing a moment to collect her thoughts. “I have to tell you, I am very flattered and honored. I really am very surprised to have won.”

But, while she voted for everyone else in the contest, Danois has her supporters as well. A school teacher for nearly 40 years, including the last 23 at Yarmouth Elementary, Danois had spent the last three and a half years of her retirement working as a school crossing guard in her native city.

Each morning, and each afternoon, Danois sets out from her North Richland Street home to guide students across busy thoroughfares at Mahoney Middle School and Small Elementary School. She has become somewhat famous for her knock-knock jokes and themed events, such as “music Monday,” as well as for the windmills and other science experiments she sets up on a rock wall near her Small School station.

“Michelle is extremely dedicated to serving our community and keeping our children safe on a daily basis. She never misses a day of duty, no matter the weather conditions. She takes her responsibilities very seriously, but does so with a smile and a knockknock joke,” wrote Sawyer Street resident Catherine Dorrington, who nominated Danois.

“It’s been fun for me to do the crossing guard work, because it was on my bucket list when I retired, as a way to stay active and involved with kids,” Danois said. “But really, it’s not about me. It’s been so much fun because this is such a great, wonderful community.”

A full profile of Danois is scheduled to appear in next week’s Sentry.

Return to top