A Marine veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan tookÂ up self-imposed duty in front of a central California elementary school in theÂ wake of the Connecticut shooting.
Hughson Elementary School Principal LauraÂ Fong said Sgt. Craig Pusley stood all day Wednesday in fatigues in front of theÂ flag pole at the school just southeast of Modesto. He was notÂ armed.
Pusley, who served two tours in Iraq and oneÂ in Afghanistan before leaving active duty last year, told Fong that ‘he wantedÂ to make the kids feel safe in light of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary,’Â the principal said.
The veteran Marine arrived at the K-3 schoolÂ a little before 7:30 am, Fong said, and asked permission to stand guard. HeÂ stood in front of the flag pole until 2:30 p.m., she said, without taking anyÂ breaks.
Sgt. Pusley is a father of a three-year-oldÂ and his wife is expecting another child. He told theÂ Modesto Bee that he decided to takeÂ action after reading a Facebook post urging soldiers to be posted at everyÂ school in the wake of last week’s tragic shooting in Connecticut.
‘When I enlisted, I swore to defend thisÂ country from all enemies, foreign and domestic,’ Sgt. Pusley said.
‘I just want to be sure all these kids goÂ home safe for Christmas.’
Fong said Pusley is returning on Thursday,Â the school’s last day before the holiday break.
‘It really is kind of heartwarming to knowÂ someone would do something like that,’ Fong said. ‘It makes me and my staff feelÂ safer. After a shooting, there’s always a heightened awareness that this couldÂ happen anywhere.’