Oakland County Parks and Recreation lifeguards honored for saving a life

Teamwork and training synched when lifeguards at Red Oaks Waterpark in Madison Heights pulled an unconscious swimmer from the water in mid-June.

“The lifeguard on duty noticed an 11-year-old male in the water not moving. The lifeguard responded, performed a save and opened the boy’s air way.  The child did not show signs of breathing so the lifeguard administered rescue breaths in water, while a team of lifeguards responded and removed the child from the wave pool,” Matt Pardy, Red Oaks Park Supervisor, said.
According to Pardy, once the child was on the pool’s deck, lifeguards performed an assessment and determined the child had a pulse but was not showing signs of breathing.  Using a bag-valve-mask and oxygen, lifeguards administered rescue breaths for the child.  Prior to the two-minute reassessment, the child began to cough/vomit up water and regained consciousness. EMS transported the child to a hospital where he was examined and released later in the evening having made a full recovery. The incident occurred on June 15 at 12:19 p.m.
“The Red Oaks lifeguards acted decisively in the rescue, expertly applying their training and following the established emergency action plan.  These efforts resulted in a child’s life saved.  We enthusiastically congratulate these lifeguards for their service as they exemplify what it means to be a professional lifeguard,” Luke Martinez of Jeff Ellis & Associates said.

Oakland County Parks and Recreation’s 100 lifeguards are trained through Jeff Ellis & Associates International Lifeguard Training Program. Ellis is an aquatic safety and risk management consultant.

For their participation in saving the child’s life, six lifeguards were honored with the Lifeguard in Action Award from Ellis & Associates.

Individuals who received this honor are:  
•Joshua Turner – Waterford
•Dilon Lemond – Davisburg
•Sam Kuznia – Royal Oak
•Joe Heaton – Roseville
•Rebecca Dorey – Clawson
•Zach Owczarzak – Clarkston
“The Lifeguard in Action award is given to lifeguards who positively contribute to the efforts of a team (or acting individually) in saving a life.  While there may be many examples of this every year, we look to highlight individuals who either performed exceptionally well or went above and beyond to get the positive outcome,” Martinez said. “It is hard to articulate this as there are a lot of intangibles. Suffice it to say that we do not give these awards out very often, which I think adds to the meaningfulness of the honor.”

Joshua Turner and Dilon Lemond were recognized by the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission at its July 12 Commission meeting.

“Joshua and Dilon were the first two lifeguards to recognize the distressed boy in the water and respond to render first aid. They were the critical first step in saving this child’s life,” Sue Wells, Manager of Park and Recreation Operations, said. “The Parks Commission wanted to honor these young men for their dedication to their job and commitment to safety.”

Turner and Lemond are assigned to work at Waterford Oaks Waterpark in Waterford, but had been assisting at Red Oaks Waterpark the day of the incident.

Oakland County Parks and Recreation provides 100 lifeguards to monitor the aquatic safety of its 215,000 annual visitors at two waterparks and one beach. Lifeguards are on duty through Labor Day at Red Oaks Waterpark in Madison Heights, Waterford Oaks Waterpark in Waterford and Groveland Oaks County Park Beach near Holly.

OCPR’s lifeguard staff has received Ellis & Associates International Aquatic Safety Awards for exceptional safety every year since 2010.
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