Rosa Torres is breaking the senior citizen stereotype.
While many of her elderly companions are spending their golden years relaxing, this 80-year-old Killeen resident is hard at work volunteering and serving her community.
Service is nothing new to Torres. After growing up in the small Texas town of San Diego, Torres relocated to Killeen when her husband was stationed at Camp Hood in 1968. Six years later, Torres began her public service career as a school safety officer for the Killeen Independent School District.
She was the second school safety officer hired by KISD, she said.
“The children were all wonderful,” Torres said, “I have many great memories from those years. … I would stop the traffic so children could cross the street safely, and train other school safety officers as the city and school district grew larger.”
Torres assisted Killeen school children of Killeen for 14 years, at East Ward Elementary, Fowler Middle School, Bellaire Elementary, Haynes Elementary, West Ward Elementary, Rancier Middle School and Killeen High School. She not only protected the children as they crossed the street, but created lasting bonds and connections with them that permeate today.
“I loved getting hugs from the children, and they loved it when I would give them candy on their birthdays,” Torres said. “I still have people come up to me today and remember me as their safety officer. When you stand there for so many years, people will recognize you.”
With her days as a school safety officer now behind her, Torres has found new ways to positively impact and help people in need.
“These days I help at the American Legion, Meals on Wheels, the United Way, and sing at the nursing home, just to name a few,” Torres said.
“I like to help out because I am so blessed. I don’t need these services at this time, but if I did, I would appreciate someone volunteering their time for me.”
Despite her age, Torres continues to give back and doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.
“Even though she’s 80, she still goes to the nursing home acting like she’s the young one,” said her son, Rick Torres. “She has always been a helper, and people have always appreciated her as much as me and my siblings have. She is Mama Rosa to a lot of people.”