On Thursday, January 15, our Department lost a leader and true hero, Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Brian K. Kutil. Kutil joined our Department as an Ocean Lifeguard in 1994. He worked many years as an Ocean Lifeguard Recurrent (part time) at Santa Monica South, where he shined as a leader amongst his peers. During this time, Kutil was introduced to ocean paddling by his lifeguard friends and exceeded in this sport.
He was born on November 19, 1972, and grew up in the city of El Segundo. It was during his high school years that he found his passion for the water, and excelled as a swimmer and water polo player. As a sophomore in college, he was a Junior College all-American, and excelled as a distance swimmer with his main event being the 1650 yard freestyle.
In April of 2001 he was promoted to the position of full time Ocean Lifeguard Specialist (OLS) at Dockweiler Beach. He was later positioned in El Porto, where he continued to make a positive impact on the community. Kutil also was stationed at Bay Watch Marina Del Rey and Cabrillo and saved countless lives over his career as a lifeguard.
“I got the chance to spend a lot of time with Brian during the summer. He was a great lifeguard, but boating was his actual calling,” said fellow Ocean Lifeguard AJ Lester. Kutil’s favorite place to paddle was at Marina Del Rey.
Kutil was loved by all his fellow lifeguards. He had a great talent for making people laugh and brightening up their day.
“He could have us all laughing on a rescue boat, but as soon as we got the 911 call, he was the guy you wanted backing you up” says Lester.
Another colleague, Captain Kenichi Haskett remembers Kutil’s amazing characteristics. “He was charismatic and friendly, but also very reliable and dependable. He genuinely spent time with the newly hired lifeguards to train them and help ease their way into the lifeguard culture. He was very well respected and loved by his peers and captains for his open demeanor.”
Outside of work, Kutil enjoyed surfing and traveling to exotic surf locations with fellow lifeguards and friends. He would spend a lot of time with his nephews, taking them to the zoo and attending his eldest nephews wrestling matches. Kutil also spent a lot of time with his father, and enjoyed playing billiards with him every week. Kutil is survived by his mother and father, along with his sister and three nephews.
The shock of Kutil’s sudden death continues to resonate within our Department and the community. He was beloved by all who knew him and will be greatly missed by his Fire Department family.