Being a lifeguard is a seasonal job that not every college student can handle. It takes a great deal of responsibility and focus, and recognition only comes at the worst moments. The lifeguards at Stone Beach in La Porte have kept their lakeshore emergency free all summer, something we as patrons forget to praise them for when we are safe.
It is time we say thank you.
At Stone Beach, rain or shine there are three lifeguards there every day; two on a stand, one on break.
The sun and the heat are hazards, even with the umbrella giving them shade. Reflections from the water can burn their skin. High temperatures can cause dehydration, dizziness, and fatigue.
Still they risk it. They do what they can to minimize risk for themselves so they can keep our lives their top priority.
“I've always wanted to be a lifeguard,” said Alex Nunn, a La Porte High School graduate who will be attending Indiana University Bloomington in the fall. “As a swimmer, I knew I had no problem with that aspect of the job. I like knowing I am able to hold a responsible position.”
This is his first year protecting Stone Beach, his third as a lifeguard. Like all other lifeguards working in The Region, Nunn had to be certified in various emergency procedures like CPR and first aide.
“Obviously you never want to be put in that position" said Nunn. “But I would be able to (rescue someone), I'm confident in my training.”
Nunn says a lifeguards biggest duty is prevention. The lifeguards search the sands for danger as closely as they do the water. They enforce safety rules like no dogs on the beach, no throwing sand, and no boats inside the buoys.
“In the zone, you're watching and you don't notice time go by.”
It is that diligence that allows us to relax at the beach. The next time you see a lifeguard, make sure you say thank you!