Dateline: Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011; Kaiser Permanente Hospital, Woodland Hills, Calif.
"County Recurrent" visited with LACo Lifeguard Capt. Conrad Liberty (Ret.) earlier today while he is hospitalized pending further tests for a lesion recently found in his brain. He is alert and full of conversation and we were informed that visitors and phone calls are appropriate per a phone call with Nick Steers last nite.
(Photo above shows Conrad with his wife, Marla, at the conclusion of our interview as Conrad is starting to take a nap.)
Below is our interview with Conrad:
Marla Liberty: Conrad, Conrad (shake and shout), wake up, Will is here to visit with you.
Conrad Liberty (Conrad): Hi Will, what's shakin'?
County Recurrent (CR): Good morning Conrad. Good to see you.
.................. How about we conduct an interview for the readership of the blog? (Conrad's eyes roll and he smiles....)
CR: Any advice for the rookie lifeguard:
Conrad: Be there on time and make sure you are watching what the hell you are doing.
CR: We understand that you were part of a group of lifeguards that rebuilt a 60's era dory in the early 80's. Can you tell us about that?
Conrad: The group of guards involved in the restoration of this dory were myself, Ed Perry, Eddie Love, Steve Saylors, Hal Dunnigan and Randy Steigely. This was in the early 80's. This restored dory was recently displayed at the 2nd Annual Santa Monica Pier Paddleboard Race this past June 2011. Harold Dunnigan was the representative and spokesman for our group's restored dory during this event, which I believe you have a photo of during my visit to this display.
(Photo above shows Harold Dunnigan at left and Conrad, at right, next to their restored dory. Photo by Will Maguire. June 2011.)
Recently, Randy Steigely was also very instrumental in some very exceptional and expert finish work. One of the interesting facts about this dory is that it incorporates some very strong hardwood called "Appitong" for the gunnels that I had acquired.
(Editor's note: We have also been informed by Randy Steigely that Tom Snyder, Scott Hubbell and James Doman were also part of the dory restoration team.)
CR: Is Appitong termite proof?
Conrad: It is not termite proof but It is so hard that it is certainly termite-resistant.
CR: How about a funny or unusual situation while working at the beach?
Conrad: One of the funniest situations involved some shenanigans on the beach by a man and woman, both morbidly obese, standing up under a blanket engaging in sexual relations...)
CR: Any overall impressions of situations faced by beach lifeguards?
Conrad: Most of the situations were serious. Norton Wisdom was the man of the hour. Norton's philosophy was that this is hard work we do, but don't make a big deal about it.
CR: How about a memorable rescue?
Conrad: While working the Venice Pier, early one morning at the beginning of my shift, a drunk fisherman jumped off the end of the pier while fully clothed, including a very heavy pea coat. I ran down there, jumped in and had to haul him back to shore.... in his now very heavily soaked pea coat....
CR: Maybe he was in the Navy given that pea coat, eh?!... :-)
Conrad: (glares, says nothing...)
CR: Tell us about Ed Perry.
Conrad: I gave him his check out dive. Ed preferred to be on a boat than in the water as a diver but he was very good at both. Ed was a character and a story teller. Growing up in Venice as a kid, Ed and his dad would deliver ice to homes. One such homeowner who received ice once a month, one day asked that Ed deliver ice 3 times a week. This went on for 6 - 8 months until the man died. When the authorities went into his house they found out that he had been keeping his dead daughter in the bathtub on ice.
CR: We understand that you trained as an underwater dive instructor?
Conrad: Yes, I attended and graduated from UICC with Randy DeGregori and Steve Saylors.
CR: What was your favorite beach to work?
Conrad: Venice Breakwater --- was the most interesting because it had the most going on. It was also the first place I ever worked. I ended up working there for over 20 years. Bruce Kidder talked me into taking the beach lifeguard test while I was at Pierce College where I played water polo and swam for Coach (and then L.A. City Beach Guard) Bruce Kidder. Kidder was a Great Guy! He was like 6' 5" tall with an enormous wingspan. He played goalie for the U.S. Olympic Water Polo team in the 1932 Olympics.
CR: We understand that while you were in the Navy and stationed in San Francisco that you joined the historic and venerable Dolphin Club?
Conrad: In 1965, I joined the Dolphin Club and have been a member ever since, during which time I participated and completed the Golden Gate Bridge Swim 43 times and the Alcactraz swim 30 - 35 times. The Dolphin Club was first established in 1877 and is adjacent to Fisherman's Wharf and Ghirardelli Square.
(Photo above by Will Maguire, May 2011. The Dolphin Club, the white buildings, at right in background alongside the beach.)
As a member of the Dolphin Club, I also participated in the Farallon Island Swim --- a 30 mile relay swim from the Farallon Islands to the beach at the Dolphin Club inside SF Bay --- I was fortunate to also swim the final leg of this relay and had the honor to run up the beach at the Dolphin Club to win the race. Another team missed the tide change and was not able to complete the race. This was around 1968.
Conrad: I am going to take a nap now. Thanks for stopping by.
CR: 10-4, Conrad. Thanks for agreeing to this interview. We know that your friends and colleagues will enjoy your remarks.
"County Recurrent" comment: Conrad is resting comfortably in the hospital at Kaiser Permanente in Woodland Hills, Calif. On Tuesday, Sept. 20th he will have a biopsy of the lesion in his brain and will be in ICU thereafter for observation. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact his wife, Marla, or their kids, Karena and Eric. Additionally, Conrad's Lifeguard Alumni Liaisons and Representatives include Harold Dunnigan, Nick Steers and Abby Schneider, who are each in touch with Marla and Conrad and they can be contacted as well for updates on Conrad's status.
Extra Extra! Some of our favorite Conrad shots from the "County Recurrent" photo library:
(Two photos above showing Conrad at CSHQ with his new LACOLA calendar, circa 2009. Photos by Will Maguire.)
Conrad, below, in unabomber hoodie, at Jimmy Makuta's retirement party, June 2008. Photo by Will Maguire.
Conrad and Tom Doman, below, Sept. 2007, at the Rookie Swim Test, where Eric Liberty qualified for LACo's rookie school after his top 20 finish. (Photo by Will Maguire.)
Last but not least, if you care to do so, you can join the "County Recurrent" Prayer Circle by saying a prayer for Conrad and thinking of a conversation or good experience you have had with him. Please join us and add a comment on the blog below and share a funny moment or special Conrad story as part of your prayer or contribution or you can forward it to us via email and we will post it with your permission.
Until next time.....
"County Recurrent" News
Service • Training • Commitment
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