By Alyssa Schnugg
Robert Bradley walked into Oxford High School’s front doors, apologizing for being late to his interview. He was giving blood in the bus out front and it took longer than expected.
There is seldom a day that goes by that Bradley isn’t doing something to help other people and that starts each morning at 7 a.m. in front of Oxford Elementary School.
There, depending on the month, he braves the hot summer sun, the cold winter air, thunderstorms and often distracted parents rushing to drop off their children and head to work.
Bradley, 49, works for Wood Security that handles traffic control at Oxford schools. He and his partner Billy Elingburg control the busy traffic on Highway 30 every morning from 7 to 8 a.m. And each afternoon from 2 to 3 p.m. During the daytime hours, he is usually assisting Oxford Police Department’s school resource officers at the high school or other Oxford schools.
Traffic control was mainly handled by OPD with Wood Security assisting until OPD contracted out the services full-time with Wood about a year ago.
Anyone who drops their child off or picks them up for OE can see how serious Bradley takes his job. He knows lives can be at stake if he falters in his direction, even for a moment.
“I try to be fair to everyone but at the same time, making sure I keep everyone safe,” he said. “I enjoy doing it. It’s a dangerous job.”
But that doesn’t keep Bradley from having a little fun from time to time.
“I may dance around a bit or swing my arms wildly,” he said chuckling. “I’ve been told I’m fun to watch.”
While Bradley is just “doing his job,” after reading several comments made about him on an Oxford school Facebook page, he said he was moved to learn that people appreciate all the effort he puts into guiding parents in and out of the school safely.
Local parent Leslie Walkington said Bradley runs the drop-off/pick-up line like a “well-oiled machine.”
“He exudes dignity, respect, trust and commitment. His standard of excellence increases my confidence in the Oxford School District schools. By his example, I believe we can all strive to be better in our own personal and professional endeavors,” she wrote.
Wood Security owner Patrick Wood has known Bradley most of his life. The two men grew up in the Delta where Wood started his company. Wood says he often receives similar positive comments about Bradley.
“He has had a blast out there,” Wood said of Bradley. “Since taking it over, I don’t think he’s missed a single day.”
Bradley is also a volunteer firefighter with the Lafayette County Fire Department. When he isn’t busy keeping parents and kids safe during the day or fighting fires, he spends time with his wife, Lauren, their five children and three grandchildren.
“I enjoy helping people,” he said. “My job makes me want to get up each morning knowing I”m out there making people safe.
“When I was young, my mother would tease me and tell me to go ‘play in traffic.’ So I often joke with her and tell her I took her advice.”