Lifeguards show winning skills


July 23, 2002|By Dana Klosner-Wehner | Dana Klosner-Wehner,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WHILE EVERYONE can feel safe at the pools in Columbia this summer, residents who enjoy the Huntington and Dasher Green pools may feel even safer.

A team of four lifeguards from the two pools took third place in the Northeast Regional Lifeguard Competition sponsored by Jeff Ellis and Associates Inc. on July 9 and 10. The east Columbia team will compete in the national competition in San Diego on Aug. 2 and 3.

Team members from the Huntington pool are pool manager Lindsay Hall of Oakland Mills, assistant manager Colleen Tucci and lifeguard Ben Reisz of Kings Contrivance. The fourth team member, Dalton Cramer of Owen Brown, is a lifeguard at the Dasher Green pool.

The Columbia Association lifeguards are trained using the Ellis and Associates National Pool and Waterpark Lifeguard Training Program, said Darby Van Conover, assistant aquatics director for the Columbia Association. The competition, which was held at Six Flags, New England in Agawam, Mass., was open to clients of Ellis and Associates.

"There were 19 teams from Virginia on up to Canada," Van Conover said.

The competition involved rescue scenarios that took more than just strong swimming skills. Some tests started on the pool deck, before the guards reached the water.

"We were still carrying our gear," said Hall, who has been a Columbia Association lifeguard for six years. "Someone slipped and fell and had a spinal injury. We had to stabilize his neck. Right after that, someone fell and smacked his head. I turned around and he vomited all over me."

Of course, all the scenes were simulated, with each team bringing a volunteer "victim" to the event.

"It was set up so that it could be like it was the middle of the day, instead of when you just open the pool," Hall said. "Anything could happen, and you had to be aware of your surroundings."

Another simulated scenario involved a swimmer having a seizure at the same time an infant (actually a doll) was drowning because a parent dropped him after bringing him for a ride on the water slide.

Teams were judged on their effectiveness, confidence and communication with one another and the patients, Van Conover said.

"People think this is a suntan lotion and whistles job," Hall said. "It's actually very serious."

Columbia also had a ninth-place winning team in the competition. Members were Erin Cohen of Clarksville, a lifeguard at the Hawthorn pool; Kelly Baugh of Kings Contrivance, a lifeguard at the Dickinson pool; and Bridget and Brendan O'Donnell of Long Reach, lifeguards at the Thunder Hill pool.

Kenneth O'Donnell of Long Reach, lifeguard at the Kendall Ridge pool, attended as a mock victim.

"I'm extremely proud of all my guards," Van Conover said. "Our safety record speaks for itself. We have never had a drowning in 35 years, knock on wood."

Volunteers of the year

Three Oakland Mills residents were recognized by the village board for their volunteer work.

Two people received the Volunteer of the Year award: Doug Thrasher, for his work as chairman of the resident architectural committee; and Ruth Cargo, for her service to the Columbia Association's governance committee.

This year's Community Service Provider of the Year was Bill Arbalaez, a media specialist and Boy Scout leader at Stevens Forest Elementary School.

Public safety

Owen Brown residents can address their concerns about public safety to the Howard County state's attorney's office, and they don't have to go far to do it. Community justice coordinator Kim Charity has a satellite office in the Owen Brown Community Center.

Charity is at the community center from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays. Residents are invited to drop in or call to discuss crime, public safety and other community issues.

Information: 410-381-0202.

Inspiring artwork

The August exhibit at the Artists' Gallery will feature the paintings of Long Reach resident Mary Eckert. The show, Reverence: Inspirational Paintings from the Heart of Mary Eckert, will run Aug. 6-30.

This is Eckert's first show since her heart transplant in February. "My work has a renewed sensitivity," Eckert said. "There is a depth of emotion to it that wasn't there before."

A free reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 9 at the Columbia lakefront.

The cooperative Artists' Gallery has about 20 member artists and is seeking new members. "It's wonderful to be able to exhibit new work on a monthly basis," said member Denee Barr of Long Reach.

The gallery is in the American City Building, 10227 Wincopin Circle. Information: 410-740- 8249.

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