Marian Harford volunteers her time to help West Union students - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Marian Harford volunteers her time to help keep West Union students safe

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Marian Harford Marian Harford
WEST UNION (KWWL) -

Each weekday afternoon, Marian Harford is at the intersection of Highway 18 and Pine Street in West Union to help students cross the street safely.

Harford volunteers her time to keep kids safe after her own daughter was hit by a vehicle at the intersection more than 20 years ago.

Harford remembers being at home when the phone rang. It was one of her daughter's friends.

"She said to me, 'Jennifer got hit by a car,' and I said, 'What?'" recalled Marian Harford.

Now 35 years old, Jennifer Witte was 12 at the time of the accident. She was trying to cross the street after volleyball practice.

A friend pulled her out of the way of a semi, but she couldn't get out of the way of a van.

"I don't remember anything of that day, just what I was told," said Witte.

Harford remembers driving to the scene and seeing her daughter lying in the road.

"I was almost holding my breath, and then I heard her moaning. I thought to myself, 'OK, so she's alive,'" said Harford.

Witte suffered a crushed elbow, a broken wrist, a broken leg and a closed head injury. She spent a month in the hospital recovering.

Today, she has migraines, and one leg is shorter than the other.

"I wish that would have never happened," said Harford. "I wish I could change it, but she always tells me, 'But Mom, I'm still here.'"

Harford feels it's her responsibility to make sure other parents and children don't have to go through the same thing as her family.

"It makes my heart sick to think about it. What would happen?" said Harford.

All of Harford's three children are out of school now, but she still wants to be out at the intersection helping to keep other students safe.

Her efforts make her daughter proud.

"Just to be able to help and want to help, I think that's awesome," said Witte.

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