Monday, October 2, 2023

Connect with us:


From childhood tragedy to loving Lansing: Chris Metzger’s journey from Belgium to Illinois

LANSING, Ill. (July 3, 2023) – Chris Metzger wasn’t born in Lansing, but it is definitely home. It’s the only home that she’s known and where she’s become a fixture in the lives of many families as she helps local kids make it safely to and from school.

Since 1991, Metzger has been working for the Lansing Police Department as a crossing guard. She’s also worked at the Patti Leach Youth Center for 21 years, as well as the Lan-Oak Park District for 17 years.

As much as she seems to be a Lansingite through and through, she has an interesting backstory of how she arrived here.

Chris Metzger
Chris Metzger (right) and her husband Marvin. (Photo provided)

From Brussels to Lansing

Metzger was born in Belgium 66 years ago to a mother who died during childbirth. After her mother’s death, her father brought all of his children to an orphanage in Brussels.

Metzger lived at that orphanage for her first two years.

“In the meantime, here in Lansing, Fred and Coba Severin had adopted a son, Greg, and now wanted a daughter,” said Metzger. “Coba’s mom, Catherine Lanting, had a sister that was a nurse in Belgium at the Salvation Army Orphanage.”

At Severin’s aunt’s request, the president of the orphanage picked out a girl to be adopted to the U.S. There were 14 to choose from at the time.

“He chose me, and he said I was chosen because I had an unusual face. I still laugh to myself about that,” she said.

“The day I was supposed to leave to come to Lansing my grandma’s sister overslept. We missed the flight. That plane crashed into the ocean,” she said. “I believe 49 people perished in the crash. We flew the following day.”

“God wanted me in Lansing. I feel so blessed,” Metzger said.

A new life in Lansing

Metzger’s given name was Christianna and her adoptive parents altered it to Christi Ann. Everyone has always called her Chris.

“My new family had business in town — a Ben Franklin store — and oh, how I loved working there. I started at the age of 12,” she said. “They also owned Lanting shoe shop, and man, did I have the most awesome shoes.”

When she was around nine years old, her adoptive parents told her the whole story of her early years.

“I had such a good life. I wasn’t sad,” she said.

Chris Metzger enjoys a meal with her family. (Photo provided)

Metzger has never had any contact with her biological family. She knows her biological father’s name, but she’s had no luck in locating him.

“I have often wondered what they looked like,” she said.

Her older brother was born in Chicago and adopted when he was just a few days old.

Metzger grew up in Lansing and married and raised her own family here. She hasn’t entertained the thought of living anywhere else. She and her husband, Marvin, will be married 49 years in December. The couple have five children — four daughters and one son — as well as seven grandchildren ranging in age from 3 to 22.

“I have always loved this town. I have seen Lansing’s growth and [I] support this village,” Metzger said.

Chris Metzger serves as a crossing guard at a cruise night in Lansing in 2021. (Photo: Dan Bovino)

A favorite Lansing tradition of hers is the Good Neighbor Day Parade.

“I have only missed one parade all these years and still enjoy going. I love Lansing,” she said.


Carrie Steinweg
Carrie Steinweg
Carrie Steinweg is a freelance writer, photographer, author, and food and travel blogger who has lived in Lansing for 27 years. She most enjoys writing about food, people, history, and baseball. Her favorite Lansing Journal articles that she has written are: "Lan Oak Lanes attracts film crew," "Why Millennials are choosing Lansing," "Curtis Granderson returns home to give back," "The Cubs, the World Series, fandom, and family," and "Lansing's One Trick Pony Brewery: a craft beer oasis."


  1. Great story. We thank you Chris for all you do to assist people crossing the streets of Lansing. Your work at the Patty Leach Youth Center has made a difference in many ways! Maureen

  2. Amazing story about an amazing lady! Thank you for all that you do for the youngsters in Lansing! I always looked forward to seeing you when I worked at the PD.

  3. I met Chris at Fox Pointe when I asked her if I could sit at her table in the Pavilion. After that I often sat with them until it has become a “given” that I usually sit with them. She and her daughters are lovely, lovely people and I am so glad to have her now as a friend.

  4. My mom. Chris Metzger, is one the the kindest ladies on this earth, God sure did plan your life out, thankful for a great loving Mother.

Comments are closed.