Friday, July 13, 2012

2012 Medal of Valor Recipients Named

This year's Medal of Valor Dinner and Ceremony will take place on Thursday, August 2, 2012.  More information about attending can be obtained from the International Surf Festival website at:

Head's up!  Just in from LACo Section Chief, Dave Story (Ret.)., with respect to the lifeguards to be recognized and presented with the Medal of Valor, Distinguished Service Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Medal of Valor:
Cassady Roberts/Dylan Jones
OLS Cassady Roberts

OLS Dylan Jones
          On Buccaneer weekend, October 1, 2011, at 2245 hours, a call came in from the Isthmus Harbor Department reporting that a man had fallen off the crowded floating dock, and had not surfaced. OLS Roberts responded from the hyperbaric chamber by boat, having just completed the helicopter medivac of another patient.  OLS Jones responded from the Isthmus station.  Upon arrival, a very large, hysterical, and inebriated crowd said the man had fallen in and had not been seen again.  OLS Roberts and Jones tried to clear the crowd and boats from the dock and immediately jumped in and dove to the bottom to search for the victim.  After negative results on the initial search, OLS Roberts initiated a second search while on SCUBA.  Returning to the surface from a second negative search, the victim was located under the float, in a gap under the dock, face down.  OLS Roberts and Jones immediately extricated the large, 300+ pound male, and brought him to the surface.  A Coast Guard inflatable showed up on scene and assisted with getting the numerous skiffs away from the rescuers and the victim, while the Sheriff’s were able to clear the float of the many bystanders.    With the assistance of the Coast Guard personnel, Roberts and Jones were able to lift the victim up onto the 4 – 5 foot high float, and then begin paramedic treatment.  Despite their being soaking wet, with no uniform for warmth, Jones and Roberts continued resuscitative efforts for 20 minutes, and successfully restored a blood pressure.  Prior to the arrival of a helicopter, the patients condition deteriorated, and he was pronounced dead on scene.

          Despite the numerous civilians and boats on scene, no one was capable of effecting this rescue and subsequent resuscitation except the assigned lifeguard paramedics.  Though the initial scene was extremely dangerous and chaotic,   OLS Jones and Roberts were able to negotiate the conditions and effect the rescue, at considerable risk to themselves.

Medal of Valor:
Jeff Little
OL Jeff Little

OL Jeff Little
          OL Jeff Little was a member of a group of lifeguards unofficially representing the United States Lifesaving Association in Ecuador.  It was February, summer-time in the Southern Hemisphere, during the busy festival of Carnival.  Prior to the lifeguards arrival, three people had already drowned that week due to the large overhead surf, and the nasty rip current conditions.  OL Little was not surfing with the group one morning, due to a foot injury from a local reef.  While out for a morning swim, OL Little noticed a swimmer on the inside of the surfline having difficulties. He assisted the swimmer back to the beach, pushing him to shore, but then saw two other victims further out in the rip current.  One of the victims was in serious trouble, struggling to keep his head above water, while the other was tiring quickly from dog paddling against the current.  Reaching the victims, he stabilized the situation by assisting both men to stay afloat, and though they didn’t speak any English, was able to calm them down and reassure them.  After attempting to tread water and guide them to shore, OL Little realized the currents were too strong, and that they were all at risk of drowning.   The only solution was to swim back to the shore, but having no fins or rescue can made that nearly impossible.  Improvising a solution, and using hand signals to direct the victims, OL Little had  the non-swimming victim grab his foot, and he swam and pulled that man back to the shore, as he pushed the dog-paddling victim ahead (where he could also keep an eye on his condition).  Once inside the surfline with the victims, OL Little held the men as they were roughly pushed onto the beach, bringing them to the surface between sets to catch their breath.  Over 30 minutes after first spotting them.  OL Little had safely rescued all three victims.  After a few minutes of rest, he went back out and finished his swim.

Distinguished Service:
John Greger
Capt. John Greger
          In April, 2012, Captain John Greger was checking in for a physical therapy appointment at a Torrance office.  He noticed several doctors running from the surgery center to the massage therapy office, and John quickly followed.  Entering the office, he observed a 38 year old male, flat on his back in one of the examination rooms, and one of the doctors was inserting an airway. Determining that there was no pulse or breathing, Captain Greger asked if they had an AED (automatic external defibrillator).  While one employee ran to get it, another came in with a resuscitator .  Captain Greger hooked up the resuscitator and ambu bag, and while the Doctor began rescue breathing, he began chest compressions.  Upon arrival of the AED, John placed the pads on the patient, and initiated the machines analyzation phase.  For several minutes the machine directed that rescue breathing and chest compressions continue, until it finally indicated a “shockable” rhythm.   After delivering the shock, the patient’s pulse returned, and the patient had a good blood pressure when he was turned over to the Torrance paramedics.   Three days later, when Captain Greger returned to PT, he was able to meet the patient (the office’s xray tech), who had just been released from the hospital.   He thanked John, and told him that a change in his blood pressure medication caused a fatal rise in his potassium levels, causing cardiac arrest.  His doctor said that without immediate defibrillation, and effective CVP, he could not have survived.

Lifetime Achievement:
Dave Story

          Dave Story began his lifesaving career in 1970 and was assigned to Zuma Beach.  The following year Dave transferred to the Southern Section where he worked Marine Street and El Porto.

          As a Recurrent Lifeguard Dave became the first Recurrent Representative to the National Surf Lifesaving Association.  When the NSLSA reorganized to form the United States Lifesaving Association in 1980 Dave was selected as that groups first treasurer.  While serving as the Sothern Section Ocean Lifeguard representative to the Los Angeles County Lifeguard Association (LACOLA) Dave worked with Tom Viren to negotiate the first labor contract for Los Angeles County Ocean Lifeguards.

          Dave achieved a full time position with the lifeguards in 1979 and was assigned to Dockweiler State Beach.  Dave joined the Department’s Underwater Rescue and Recovery Unit and as a member of the Marine Mammal Rescue Team Dave was instrumental in cutting a free-swimming grey whale loose from lobster trap lines that had entangled it.

          As a permanent lifeguard Dave continued to serve on the LACOLA labor contract negotiating teams.  He served for 6-years at the associations Vice-President and in 1984 was elected LACOLA President.  For several years Dave organized the annual LACOLA Blood Drive for the Southern Section.

          In 1990 Dave was asked to temporarily transfer to Lifeguard Division where he co-wrote the Lifeguard Scheduling and Timekeeping database with Captain Tom Viren.  The program was in use for nearly 2 decades and was one of the first programs of its type in the County.

          Dave was promoted to Captain in 1992 and Section Chief in 2001 and was placed in charge of the Southern Section Lifeguards.  Retiring in 2006 Dave continues to find himself involved with the lifeguards.  He hosts the annual Lifeguard Alumni Luncheon and still serves as the Treasurer of the LACOLA Trust Fund.  In 2004 Dave became the event coordinator for the International Surf Festival and is the current Secretary for that organization.  


***  Many Thanks to Dave Story for providing us with this information so that we could get it out to as many lifeguards as possible and so that they have an opportunity to attend the Medal of Valor Dinner if they so choose.



Until next time.....

"County Recurrent" News

Service • Training • Commitment

*** Keeping the County Recurrent "in the loop"..... whether he/she likes it or NOT ! ***

DISCLAIMER: County Recurrent is not affiliated with nor sponsored by LACOLA or LACoFD.

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