In appreciation of devoted service to the citizens of Los Angeles County, the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce and beachsport.org presented the 2014 Lifeguard Medal of Valor Awards on July 31 at the Seaside Lagoon to several of our lifeguards, including Lee Davis, Lars Gustafson, Simon Snyder, Remy Smith, Ryan Anderson, Tim Ryan, Joi Inscore, and Scott Davey.
“It is an honor on this beautiful evening to recognize the great achievements of our honorees and our lifeguard community,” said Fire Chief Daryl Osby at the event.
2014 Medal of Valor Honorees: Rescue Boat Captain Lee Davis and Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Lars Gustafson were presented with the 2014 Medal of Valor Award for their extraordinary actions in rescuing a father and his son from their capsized vessel. On October 9, 2013, during a strong winter storm, a faint mayday call was put out over Marine VHF channel 16 in the Marina Del Rey area. The on-duty Baywatch del Rey crew only heard “Mayday….we’re going on the rocks…..marina…” Intuitively, Davis and Gustafson responded Code R to the Marina Del Rey break wall entrance. Described as “masterful boat operating,” Davis positioned the boat in a safe location to drop Gustafson in the water to rescue the two boaters in eight to 10-foot surf kicked up by 45-mile-per-hour winds.
Once on scene, they found the 25-foot powerboat being battered against the rocks of the break wall. With the pounding surf and sea water filling the vessel, it capsized and ejected the boaters into the surf between the rocks and what was left of the boat’s hull. With no time to waste, Gustafson leaped off the Baywatch rescue boat and into extremely dangerous conditions in order to rescue the young boy and his father. The vessel was completely destroyed by the surf and broken up on the break wall, after its propeller became wrapped on one of its own hoop nets and was rendered inoperable. Through the exemplary actions of Davis and Gustafson, these two lives were saved.
2014 Distinguished Service Award Honorees: In the early afternoon of June 22, 2013, the first full day of summer, a brush fire broke out in the Point Dume area of Malibu. It rapidly progressed as an offshore breeze began to strengthen, causing the residential area to be in the direct path of the expanding fire. Lifeguard Captains Simon Snyder and Remy Smith, and Ocean Lifeguard Specialists Ryan Addison and Tim Ryan donned their brush gear and joined Engine 69 and Squad 88 in gaining a handle on the blaze as it marched closer to homes in the areas. They cleared brush in a collective effort to protect life and property, and did an outstanding job in mitigating the potential danger that the Point Dume Fire created.
2014 Special Recognition Award: On the morning of June 19, Joi Inscore, wife of Lifeguard Captain Mike Inscore, was taking her usual walk, heading south towards Palos Verdes on Topaz Beach. Approaching the end of her walk she noticed offshore a surfer floating on his back with his full suit and board leashed to his leg. She watched for movement for 20-30 seconds and realized something was wrong. She entered the water a found the surfer had turned a ghostly white. Holding his head out of the water she asked him, “What happened?” He managed to say, “Stroke.” Inscore immediately screamed for help and was assisted by the Palos Verdes Surf Camp until lifeguard units from Torrance Beach and Avenue C responded as well as units from Torrance Fire and Los Angeles County Fire Station 2. She worked to stabilize the surfer’s head while lifeguards evaluated him and also assisted with oxygen therapy. Since the on-duty lifeguard was not due until 11 a.m., this surfer was fortunate that Inscore was nearby and responded so quickly.
2014 Lifetime Achievement Award: Retired Lifeguard Captain Shannon Davey giggled with pride and adornment for her husband, Retired Lifeguard Section Chief Scott Davey, as she joked, “I think he is too young to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.” With 39 years of lifeguarding service to the community, Scott Davey expressed his overwhelm regarding his selection for such an award. A few of many reasons Davey was found to be more than deserving of the Lifetime Achievement Award: he has rescued over 3,000 people in 39 years of lifeguarding; he saved $1.5 million in annual processing cost for the Department of Boating and Waterways; he established online registration for the Junior Lifeguard Program; he coordinated the first Spanish for Lifeguards manual and EMS training manual; he created the Junior Lifeguard Cadet Program as well as L.A. County’s first grant from the Department of Boating and Waterways worth $2.2 million annually for the Lifeguard Division. Davey has served with distinction and continues to offer his expertise and knowledge to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.