(Editor’s Note: The following is a series on the men and women who have spent their summers protecting all those who came to Ocean City for fun and safe vacation.)
OCEAN CITY – After two years of restaurant work and renting umbrellas on the beach, I finally figured out the best job in Ocean City was the beach patrol.
In the summer of 1978, I had a beach stand at the north side of the pier and started my training for the test by swimming around the pier and adding a little more distance to my swim every day. I finally felt confident enough to go to the office on July 21 and ask to take the test. Attending Catonsville Community College in the fall with a third week of September start gave me a couple of months on the beach.
That fall I was involved in a terrible car accident causing a compound fracture to my femur. I spent a couple of months in the hospital, having my hip drilled and a long rod put inside my femur bone down to my knee. As soon as I was cleared, I was in the pool every day. I wanted to go back to the beach patrol. I guarded my second summer with the rod poking out of my hip and got a little stop watch help on the retest run.
I made crew chief my fifth summer and loved every minute of the job. I made life-long friends and developed a love for swimming, surfing and cycling. I stayed involved with lifeguarding, serving in many positions in the United States Lifesaving Association as well as starting and serving as race director of the Captain Craig Ocean Mile Swim competition, for the first 10 years. It is hard to believe how much a summer job with that much responsibility has impacted my life.
I now work as a lacrosse and soccer referee, blowing the same whistle for a different reason.