Sunday, December 7, 2008

George Freeth Rides Again !

(Photo source: Arthur Verge, Ph.d article on


On the afternoon of December 16, 1908 a surprise winter storm suddenly descended down on Santa Monica Bay trapping several small Japanese fishing boats off today’s Venice Breakwater. As the boats headed towards the rocks (and the then Venice Pier above it), lifeguard George Freeth lead a two and half hour rescue effort. Despite nearly succumbing to the effects of hypothermia, Freeth was responsible for single-handily rescuing seven lives and leading a final rescue effort that saved the lives of four others. Following the rescue, the citizens of Venice quickly organized a dinner that evening in his honor. Exactly 100 years later we are organizing the same including a special slide show of original photographs of Freeth and of the rescue itself.

For lifeguards this rescue marked the entering of the lifeguard service into the modern age. For his actions George Freeth was awarded (by an Act of Congress) the Congressional Gold Medal for Lifesaving. Although he continued his career as an ocean lifeguard he died at age 35 during the flu pandemic of 1919. We will honor his rescue, his life and legacy on the evening of December 16, 2008 at Danny’s Deli and Bistro in Venice. Danny, a great friend of the lifeguards, is doing this at cost.

When: Tuesday - December 16, 2008

Where: Danny's Venice (aka Danny's Deli). Danny’s is located at 23 Windward Avenue, Venice CA 90291 (Located on the corner of Speedway and Windward Ave).

Time: Cash Bar – 6:00-6:45 pm. Dinner at 7 pm. Arthur Verge will give a slide presentation on the life of George Freeth at 7:30 pm.

Dinner choice – Chicken or Salmon (accompanied by rice, vegetables and soft drink).

Cost: $25. Please make your checks out to “LACOLA” (stands for Los Angeles County Lifeguard Association) and send to –

“George Freeth Celebration Dinner”
735 Maryland St.
El Segundo, CA 90245

Please include your choice of Salmon or Chicken.
We need all orders in by Sunday evening – 6:00 pm December 14th.
Questions – or Dave Kastigar at

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