by Kaelyn Floyd
The California Surf Life Saving Association (CSLSA) honored Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) personnel during the Spring Board of Directors meeting at the Dockweiler Youth Center in Playa Del Rey. On April 12, 2018, the CSLSA awarded them with the Medal of Valor, Heroic Act and a Meritorious Act Award for past courageous acts of heroism.
Medal of Valor
On June 25, 2016, a 26-foot boat flipped over a reef as a strong wave came crashing down on its side throwing seven victims overboard, at Salta Verde Point on Catalina Island. LACoFD Ocean Lifeguard Specialists Brian Kari and Matthew Rhodes risked their lives as they dove into the intense surf to find and rescue two victims.
Heroic Act Award
LACoFD Rescue Boat Captains Lance Dempsey and Rob Pelkey also received the Heroic Act Award for the efforts in the Salta Verde Point incident. Captain Dempsey and Pelkey aided in rescuing and quickly getting the victims back to shore to be air lifted to a local hospital.
Meritorious Act Award
Ocean Lifeguard John Newton received the Meritorious Act Award for a rescue on March 16, 2017. Newton was off-duty when he performed CPR on an unconscious surfer until first responders arrived at the scene. The victim was taken to a local hospital where he made a full recovery, just days after the incident.
Congratulations Rescue Boat Captain Dempsey and Pelkey, Ocean Lifeguard Specialists Kari and Rhodes, and Ocean Lifeguard Newton!