2000-08-19 / Letters

Lifeguards Praised

Dear Editor;

From reading the last issue of The Wave (vol.CVII), I felt that the hard
work of many Rockaway Beach lifeguards is being overlooked. I agree that it is a shame that there aren't enough lifeguards this summer to keep every beach open. I also agree that this is a very important issue that must be addressed. Nevertheless, I do feel that you aren't giving credit where credit is due. There is a number of lifeguards who are on the beaches, six days a week, devoting their lives and their summer to helping our Rockaway beachgoers and those who come from all over to sunbathe and swim on our infamous beach. Each day these men and women put their lives on hold and on
the line, to protect and serve the Rockaway community.

The issue concerning the lack of lifeguards this summer should not overshadow the hard work of so
many of our own friends, neighbors and family who have chosen to help our community and become a lifeguard.

I would also like to shine the spotlight for a moment on two outstanding lifeguards, three year lifeguard, Emmaleen Friel and nine year lifeguard, Kelly Sheehan, as well as their shack on Beach 97 street, and the help of lifeguards from neighboring shacks. On Friday, August 4, fueled with adrenaline, both guards fought the ferocious waters, to pluck a drowning 20 year old man out of the water on Beach 100 street. Fellow lifeguards then formed a human chain in an attempt to help not only the drowning victim, but also aid Kelly and Emma who were now being pushed under from a combination of
the man going into shock and the strong undertow and towering waves. Once out of the water, Kelly and Emma, while on oxygen, put dealing their own mortality on the backburner, and were still incredibly concerned with the drowning victim and his safety. The work of all the lifeguards, especially Emmaleen and Kelly, should be applauded.

I really think it takes a lot to be a lifeguard and to have that ability
to risk your life for those of strangers; to calm down and help lost
children; to keep rowdy beachgoers under control; to secure the safety and lives of many, including some of our own loved ones; and to be entirely devoted to making our beaches the best they can be. So, in closing, thank you to each and every Rockaway Beach lifeguard.

M.WENTLAND


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