A local Crystal River Primary School (CRPS) fifth-grader was named the 2020-21 “AAA Safety Patroller of the Year.” Hunter Eichhorn was selected as the sole winner among thousands of other Florida students.

At a young age, Eichhorn is already heavily involved with his school and community. As a co-captain of CRPS’s Safety Patrol squad, Eichhorn oversees student safety at bus and parent pick-up and drop-off lines, assists in member training and enforces COVID-19 guidelines.

Eichhorn also helps create safety videos for students. One of the videos included tips to stay safe when trick-or-treating on Halloween.

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“I feel like participating in Safety Patrol has helped me become a better leader,” Eichhorn said. “It is easy to remind younger students of what they should be doing, but it is a lot harder to remind my friends and classmates. Sometimes it even changed how people felt about being my friend. That was difficult at first, but I think I have become a better leader because of it.”

For 100 years, AAA has set out to instill responsibility, leadership, good citizenship, school involvement and application of safety skills in those who wear the electric-lime belt. The Safety Patroller of the Year award recognizes the patroller who best exemplifies these qualities.

Each year, schools are invited to nominate patrollers for the award. Eichhorn was nominated for the award by Tiffany Swain, CRPS pre-k teacher and Safety Patrol sponsor.

“It’s a very big award,” Swain said. “I nominated him for the things he does around our school.”

"Hunter is a peaceful, respectful and diligent student," Eichhorn's fifth-grade teacher, Cassidy Moore, said. "He is intrinsically motivated and always strives to do his best."

In addition to his Safety Patrol duties, Eichhorn helps pass out Citrus Blessings bags to his classmates. Swain said that he leads a team of students to each classroom to drop off the bags. In addition, he helps put together summer literacy bags. “Hunter’s just the sweetest, kindest kid,” Swain said.

When he won, Eichhorn received a plaque for himself and the school, along with a $300 gift card. In addition, CRPS received backpacks filled with pencil bags, hats, pins, flags and other items. 

“Hunter Eichhorn is a tremendous representative of the AAA School Safety Patrol Program and very deserving of this award,” Matt Nasworthy, Florida public affairs director for the AAA Auto Club Group, said. “He exemplifies the type of leadership qualities and safety skills of a great safety patroller. We are so proud of Hunter’s contributions and wish him the best of luck in sixth-grade.”

Hannah Sachewicz is a reporter for the Chronicle. She can be reached at 352-564-2929 or hannah.sachewicz@chronicleonline.com.

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