Morris Borodkin As A Lifeguard
Thank you for reprinting the obituary of Mel Cuba, one of the legendary Rockaway lifeguards. Certainly without diminishing the deeds of Mr. Cuba, I want to make note that in the same N.Y. Times obituary in the penultimate paragraph, included on the list of other lifeguards who received the N.Y.C. Medal of Valor the day of the major rescue in August, 1930, was Morris Borodkin. Mr. Borodkin, known as Big Mike (his partner back then was Little Mike) and later just as Mike or The Boss, left his imprimatur on N.Y.C. lifeguarding and especially on Rockaway.
To keep it short, he also received the Carnegie Medal (for swimming out to a burning boat and rescuing its people) and then the Army Medal for Heroism.
Mr. Borodkin founded and directed the Municipal Lifeguard Training School, was Director of Water Safety for the Metropolitan Red Cross, had a television program to teach kids to swim (Mike Boros), taught and coached at L.I.U., and was the Senior Supervisor of Parks in Rockaway for most of his career until switching to Riis Park in the last year of his life. He influenced many of us teenagers to become good men.
I circulated the Cuba obituary to others who worked the busy beaches under Mike Borodkin. It started an outpouring of sentiments about him and those giants who molded us – and caused a lot of misty eyes.
DR. ERNEST HOROWITZ