2018 Lifeguard Medal of Valor Award Ceremony. Photo by VPP Tony Perez.
The International Surf Festival hosted its annual kickoff dinner and Medal of Valor awards ceremony on Wednesday, August 1, 2018, at Seaside Lagoon in Redondo Beach. These awards recognize lifeguards from the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) Lifeguard Division who carried out exemplary acts of heroism, on and off duty.
LACoFD Fire Chief Daryl Osby and Los Angeles County Fourth District Supervisor Janice Hahn congratulated the following honorees at the ceremony:
Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Tucker Hopkins, Medal of Valor
Ocean Lifeguard Joe Rickabaugh, Medal of Valor
Rescue Boat Captain Chris Lallone, Distinguished Service Award
Lifeguard Captain Brandon Chapman, Distinguished Service Award
Lifeguard Captain Patrick O’Neill, Distinguished Service Award
Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Greg Crum, Distinguished Service Award
Ocean Lifeguard Ignacio Pagliaro, Distinguished Service Award
Lifeguard Captain Dan Atkins (retired), 2018 Lifeguard Lifetime Achievement Award
Below are short stories about the incidents that led to the honorees’ awards.
Zuma Beach Rescue, June 2017
Medal of Valor: Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Tucker Hopkins
Distinguished Service: Rescue Boat Captain Chris Lallone
Distinguished Service: Captain Patrick O’Neill
In June 2017, Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Tucker Hopkins, along with Captain Chris Lallone and Captain Patrick O’Neill, managed to save an uncooperative victim who had been sucked out to sea in a rip current and later lost consciousness. The victim and another friend were at Zuma Beach when they both got pulled in with waves up to six feet high. LACoFD lifeguards acted quickly to rescue both victims, so they could receive medical aid and make a full recovery.
Off-Duty County Line Surf Rescue, May 2018
Medal of Valor: Ocean Lifeguard Joe Rickabaugh
Ocean Lifeguard Joe Rickabaugh rescued a victim while off-duty and surfing at Ventura County Line Beach on May 24, 2018. The victim could not move or feel his arms and legs. Rickabaugh put him on his surfboard and got him safely to shore where he remained with him until paramedics arrived.
Distinguished Service Awards
Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Greg Crum
Ocean Lifeguard Ignacio Pagliaro
Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Greg Crum and Ocean Lifeguard Ignacio Pagliaro were flagged down by a Good Samaritan who was trying to administer chest compressions on a 60-year-old man near the El Porto parking lot in Manhattan Beach. After several round of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and using the automated external defibrillator, the man was revived. Manhattan Beach Fire Department arrived to transport him to a local hospital for care.
Lifeguard Captain Brandon Chapman
On February 11, 2018, Lifeguard Captain Chapman rescued a 14-year-old male buried under three feet of sand at Venice Beach. Only his nose and chin were visible. With the help of Good Samaritans, Captain Chapman safely got the victim out from under the sand entrapment. He was treated by LACoFD lifeguards and the Los Angeles Fire Department. He has since made a full recovery.
2018 Lifetime Achievement Award
Captain Dan Atkins was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award for a long list of achievements over his 37-year career with the LACoFD Lifeguard Division. During his career, Captain Atkins served as president of the Los Angeles County Lifeguard Association and was instrumental in the merger of the Lifeguard Division into LACoFD.
To read all the stories, visit http://www.surffestival.org/valor.