Los Angeles County honors guards for lifesaving, Supervisor Knabe for saving guards
Two Los Angeles County Lifeguards were honored at the 2016 Lifeguard Medal of Valor dinner for assisting in ocean rescues in Manhattan Beach. Also recognized during the dinner last Thursday at the Redondo Seaside Lagoon were two lifeguards who made heroic rescues in Venice and Malibu and Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, who was credited with rescuing the lifeguards, themselves, from drowning in a bureaucratic squall.
Lifeguard Spencer Parker received the 2016 Medal of Valor Award for assisting in a Labor Day rescue at the Manhattan Beach pier. Parker was patrolling the north side of the pier on a Rescue Water Craft when he was called to assist three lifeguards attempting to rescue four victims on the south side of the pier. Despite large surf, Parker drove under the pier, rather than take a safer but longer route around the pier and helped the four victims and three guards onto his RWC sled.He then drove them through crashing waves, away from the pier pilings to safety..
Later that same day, Parker made another 32 rescues.
Lifeguard Ivan Wilkins received the 2016 Distinguished Service Award for assisting in a rescue while patrolling north Manhattan Beach aboard a RWC. Last October, during large surf, Wilkins saw fellow lifeguard Deric Parsoneault race into the ocean after a 5-year-old boy who had been swept out to the impact zone. Before Parsoneault could reach the boy, the boy disappeared under the water. Wilkins directed Parsoneault to where he last saw the boy, enabling Parsoneault to reunite the boy with his father.
Lifeguard Jon Van Duinwyk received the 2016 Medal of Valor Award for rescuing five people, including a mother and her infant, who had leapt into the ocean from a burning, 40-foot yacht off Venice Beach last Labor Day weekend. Van Duinwyk, a deckhand on Baywatch Del Rey, swam from his rescue boat to the burning boat and back, ferrying first the mother and infant and then the three other adults to safety. None of the victims were wearing life preservers.
Lifeguard Colby Trivette received the 2016 Distinguished Service Award for saving the life of a surfer at Malibu who had suffered cardiac arrest as he left the water last Labor Day weekend. Trivette directed a bystander to apply CPR while he retrieved an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) from his truck. He then used the AED to restart the victim’s heart. An anesthesiologist who witnessed the rescue wrote in a letter to Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby, “Trivette exhibited the calm, confidence and skills under pressure that are required to save lives.”
Retiring Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe became only the second non lifeguard to receive the Los Angeles County Lifeguard Lifetime Achievement Award. (The first was Jinx Wible the longtime Lifeguard Division Administrative Secretary.) Knabe began his political career as a Cerritos councilman. In 1996, he was elected to represent the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Fourth District, which stretches from Redondo Beach, 22 miles out the 91 Freeway, to Cerritos. Knabe quickly made clear that his beach constituency would receive the same level of service as his home base in the eastern end of the district.
The year previous to his election, California State lifeguards had taken over responsibility for eight Los Angeles County Beach previously patrolled by County lifeguards. Beaches in Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach were among the beaches the County guards lost control over because of county budget shortages..
Shortly his election, Knabe negotiated the lifeguards’ transfer from the County Department of Harbors and Beaches to the County Fire Department. The Fire Department’s secure funding enabled the Lifeguards to reclaim control of all of the County’s beaches.
“It is without hyperbole that without Don Knabe, the Los Angeles County Beaches and Lifeguards would not exist in the form they are today,” emcee Dick Douglas said in announcing the award. ER
by Kevin Cody
Kevin is the publisher of Easy Reader and Beach. Share your news tips. 310 372-4611 ext. 110 or kevin[at]easyreadernews[dot]com