Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"A Little Lifeguard History From The Past", by Brad Hillinger

Here's a great story!  Many Thanks to Dave Story of our Lifeguard Alumni for forwarding this to us and to Brad Hillinger who wrote it and gave us permission to reprint an article his father wrote for the L.A. Times back in 1960.  Enjoy!

From: "BRAD Hillinger"

Subject: A little Lifeguard History from the past

As we have been recently reading about those that are no longer with us I thought I would share something I came across, a little Lifeguard history, to celebrate all of us that have served as ocean lifeguards. 

This past summer I had the honor to sit next to Carter Smart at the annual alumni gathering.  It was good to see an old friend that I have known and respected almost my entire life.

I first met Carter in the summer of 1960.
  I was eight years old at the time living on Avenue E in Redondo Beach. We met on the beach in the first junior lifeguard program.  Carter, taught the B’s, Dick Keeler had the A’s, and I was a C with Jim Piper.  

Dwight Crum and his family lived nearby in the neighborhood.  I believe that I first learned about the JG program from Gary Crum. He knew I could swim and said I should tryout.

I had a problem since I was two years shy of being ten years old.  Well either Dwight was able to pull some strings or he just needed bodies for the program but somehow I passed the swim test and got in at eight.

My father, Charles Hillinger, was a close friend of the lifeguards as well as a writer for the Los Angeles Times.  Recently, I came across a story he wrote about the Junior Lifeguards in 1960.  It brought back memories of my lunch with Carter and how luck I was to be with him that day.  It appears below.

Also attached are: a copy of the original article, a published photo with Carter Smart leading his group of JGs in an out of date method of resuscitation, and a group photo of Jim Piper and the C junior guards at Avenue C in Redondo.   (I am the third from the left in the front row.  Outside of Jim Piper I don’t know who anyone else is)

To all of our recently passed away watermen I say, "see you at that beach on the other side" "you are all missed and remembered".

Brad Hillinger


Los Angeles Times

August 28, 1960

Youthful Lifeguards Learn to Respect Sea

New County Course Develops Skills and Sportsmanship Among Boys from 10-16

Jim Piper, county lifeguard at Ave. C, Redondo Beach, stood on the sand towering above 30 boys wearing sun bleached red trunks, sitting cross-legged in a semicircle.

A red, white and blue patch on each boy’s swimming suit carried the inscription – “Junior Lifeguard.”

The youths gave Piper their undivided attention.

Piper addressed himself to a freckle-faced lad whose nose, as the noses on all the boys in the group, was scorched red by the sun, peeling at the end.

 Knows Technique..

“O.K. Brad, what would you do if you saw someone drowning?”

The boy replied matter of factly:

“I’d swim as fast as I could to the victim.  I’d bring him ashore using the chin, cross chest or saddleback carry.  When I got him to the beach, I’d lay him on his stomach, his arms stretched out with his hands under his head.

“Then I’d use artificial respiration, pressing down on his back with both my hands, pulling his arms up. . . until he started to breathe normally”

For 300 boys ages 10 to 16 this has been the summer they learned to respect the sea.

The boys are members of a 10-week County Recreation and Parks Department Junior Lifeguard program inaugurated late in June.

Each week-day from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Avenue C, at Lifeguard Headquarters in Hermosa and in Manhattan Beach, Junior Guards are in training.

Rigorous Routine

Their day begins with raising of the American Flag.  They go through rigorous calisthenics, run a half mile along the beach, have daily first aid lectures.

Lifeguards instruct the boys in body and board surfing, rescue work, beach skills, sportsmanship, knowledge of the sea.

To enroll in the program it was necessary to pass a swimming test.  Many who tried were disqualified.
Several who passed were expert pool swimmers but knew little about swimming in the surf.

Thorough Training

Now, two months later those in the program have gained a thorough respect for depths.

They’re at home in the surf as they are in a pool equally adept at body and board surfing, equipped with the ability to aid in a rescue if needed.

They know the intricacies of resuscitators, have had numerous drills with landlines and the familiar lifeguard yellow buoy can used in rescues.

Junior Guards sit out watches with lifeguards in beach towers, participate in demonstrations rides aboard the patrol boat Bay Watch.

The program has given the boys a well-rounded background of the sea… served as a body builder…and gone far to teach respect for lifeguards and essential regulations.

*                      *                      *                      *                      *

Image source: Brad Hillinger. A weathered copy of the original article from the L.A. Times written by Brad's dad, Charles Hillinger.

Image source: Brad Hillinger. LACo OL, Carter Smart, at left standing "leading his group of JGs in an out of date method of resuscitation."

Image source: Brad Hillinger.  Per Brad:  "Jim Piper (center in back standing) and the C junior guards at Avenue C in Redondo (I am the third from the left in the front row)".

"County Recurrent" comment: 
This past Sept. 9, 2012, LACOLA sent out a notice of the passing of Veteran LACo OL (Ret.), Carter Smart, as follows:

From:     LACOLA
Subject:     Carter Smart
Date:     September 9, 2012

Carter Smart, 73, beloved father, brother, and grandfather, died August 5th, 2012 in La Jolla of lung disease.

Carter Ellis Smart was born January 30, 1939 in Dallas, Texas. He was the eldest son of Richard and Margaret Smart of Hermosa Beach and was graduated from Mira Costa High School in 1956.

He attended college at UCLA and Calif. State University, San Jose before graduating from Calif. State University, Long Beach in 1962.

A lifelong ocean enthusiast, Smart enjoyed surfing, SCUBA diving, and paddle board racing. He participated in one of the first Catalina Classic paddleboard races from the Isthmus to Manhattan Beach. He briefly joined the Coast Guard before beginning a long career with the LA County Lifeguards retiring in 1981.

He married Jaqueline Voss in 1962. His only son, James, was born in 1964.

Smart was a teacher for many years at Malaga Cove in Palos Verdes and he later married Carol Walton in 1975 and moved to Bellingham, Washington, where he owned and operated a boat store, the Eddystone Light. He moved to San Diego in 1985, where he married Charleen Smart, who died in 2004.

In San Diego, he was an active member of the radio control model sailboat club, the "Argonauts."

Smart is survived by his brother, James Smart of Joshua Tree, and his son, James Smart (, of Honolulu, as well as his three grandchildren Jack, Jay, and Sierra Smart, and his nephews Matt and John Smart.

A memorial will be held in the South Bay on December 29, 2012.



Until next time.....

"County Recurrent" News

Service • Training • Commitment

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1 comment:

Andi Anderson said...
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