SEMINOLE, Okla. (KFOR) – Many Oklahomans may celebrate their retirement by traveling, relaxing or learning a new hobby, but one man in Seminole chose a much different path – one that’s earned him the nickname “Grandpa” from hundreds of school kids in Seminole.

“My grandpa is a very, very sweet man,” said 5th grader Jaxton Yerby, who couldn’t be more proud of his grandpa, Monty. “A lot. Words could not describe.”

And Jaxton isn’t the only kid at Northwood Elementary in Seminole who calls his actual grandpa, “Grandpa.”

“Bye Grandpa, see ya later!” one student said to Monty while on the playground. “Bye!” Monty replied.

For the past five years, Monty Yerby has patrolled the school’s perimeter free of charge.

“‘Grandpa’ is a true public servant, Mr. Yerby,” said Seminole Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Angela Willmett. “He is retired, so rather than sitting in his recliner and worrying about kids and school security, he puts his boots on and comes every day and help keeps the kids safe.”

Monty was a shop teacher with Seminole Public Schools for 36 years, and with a background in law enforcement, Willmett says he’s the perfect guy for the job, with an extra set of eyes to keep kids safe.

“He watches, he walks around, he’s so observant and so wise, he builds relationships with kids, he is amazing,” which is why Willmett nominated Monty for a $400 Pay It 4Ward award from First Fidelity Bank.

You can watch the video at the top of this story to see Willmett, Jaxton, and our KFOR news crew surprise Monty in the school office, where he was attending a safety meeting, which the school intentionally organized for the award.

“On behalf of First Fidelity Bank and Seminole Public Schools, we want to express our appreciation for doing what it takes to keep our kids safe. Your watchful eye and your wisdom is unparalleled, and we are so thankful. So, here’s 1, 2, 3, $400,” Willmett said to Monty.

“This is going to go to the school somehow,” Monty replied. “We need volunteers, I mean, everybody wants to be paid but not everybody can be paid. You have to volunteer your time sometimes.”

“Sometimes,” for Monty, means several hours each day, Monday through Friday, making sure to keep out the bad guys.

“There never have been, but you don’t know when it will happen,” Monty said.

He has followed Jaxton from grade to grade, and plans to continue doing so for as long as he’s able.

And Jaxton, again, couldn’t be more proud of the man everyone calls “Grandpa.”

“I love you,” said Jaxton, with tears in his eyes and he hugged his grandpa. Monty patted Jaxton on the back and said, “I love you.”

If you know of someone deserving of a Pay It 4ward award (who is not related to you,) you can nominate them here.

Pay It 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.