OCBP Alumni Of The Week, Chris Via, Hard  Work Pays Off

OCBP Alumni Of The Week, Chris Via, Hard  Work Pays Off
Chris Via is pictured in the summer of 2011. Submitted Photo

(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 — Chris Via was always a hard worker. Whether it was on the Howard High football team, training for a marathon or getting his engineering degree at Maryland, he always gave his best to whatever challenge was put in front of him.

It was no surprise then, that when he decided to try out for the Ocean City Beach Patrol in the summer of 2011, he spent months in the pool working on his swimming. Even so, he admitted that “the training week was likely the toughest thing I have been put through.”

The work paid off and Chris soon found himself guarding the same beaches he’d played on as a kid.

“I grew up going to OC, so I have always loved the town,” he said. “It felt good to be one of the representatives of the town.”

He was put to the test in August. Via remembers that “the surf had been getting rougher gradually over the previous two weeks and rip currents were more frequent and stronger.” A young boy was playing in waist deep water when a wave came and pushed him into one of the rips that had opened up. Disoriented, the boy started swimming in the wrong direction and heading further into trouble.

“I blew my whistle and rushed after him. This was one of my first rescues where I thought that without a guard here and now, he would have been in serious danger,” Via recalled.

His hard work and training made all the difference as he pulled the boy to safety and then returned to his stand to keep watch over the rest of the beach.

It was only one summer but Chris felt honored to be a part of the OCBP.

“It felt like a brother/sisterhood as you knew that each one of them was put through the same strenuous training week that you went through. My biggest regret is that I didn’t start earlier,” he said.

True to form, an internship he’d worked hard to get that year led to his current career as an engineer in Baltimore, but he still makes time to get back to the beach every chance he gets.