‘He Is Like Sunshine’: At a Time of Need, New Canaanites Rally Around Popular Crossing Guard

When Carolyn Vermeer Ditlevsen walks to South School to pick up her son, a second-grader there, she—like scores of others—often finds herself chatting with Terry Darden, the smiling crossing guard at South Avenue and Gower Road who has earned the respect and affection of New Canaanites for the way he carries himself, treats others and goes about his job. Last week, Ditlevsen noticed that Darden’s usual car wasn’t the one parked off to the side of Gower near his post, and she asked him about it. “He told me that his car broke down and he’d taken it to the mechanic but didn’t have an estimate yet,” Ditlevsen recalled. So when she saw Darden again on Monday and asked about the car situation—and learned that it was a major job that could have far-reaching personal consequences for this man she holds in high regard—Ditlevsen decided to start an online fundraising campaign. Launched around 3 p.m. on GoFundMe, the campaign saw some 70 well-wishing New Canaanites contribute to the cause, approaching an initial goal of $3,000 before the day was out.