Junior Lifeguards make two rescues in two weeks

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    A Junior Lifeguard heads out for a paddleboard rescue, Wednesday during the final week of the 2021 Kaua‘i Junior Lifeguard program.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    A Junior Lifeguard heads for a swimmer in distress using a paddleboard, Wednesday during the final week of the Kaua‘i Junior Lifeguard program being held at Kalapaki Beach.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Junior Lifeguards practice paddleboard skills during a race at the Wanini Beach session, July 22.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Mark Schulein, owner of Island Ace Hardware in Princeville, is surrounded by Keiki Junior Lifeguards and representatives of the Kaua‘i Lifeguard Association during Schulein’s visit to the Junior Lifeguard program, July 22 at Wanini Beach.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    A full house of Keiki and Junior Lifeguards collect for the start of the Wednesday session at the Kalapaki Beach.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    A pair of Keiki Junior Lifeguards practice Tube-assisted rescues, Wednesday during the final week of the 2021 Junior Lifeguard program at Kalapaki Beach.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    A pair of Keiki Junior Lifeguards at the Kalapaki Beach session practice Assist Rescues using a Rescue Tube, Wednesday.

LIHU‘E — The Garden Island reader A.K. thinks the Kaua‘i Junior Lifeguard program is special after witnessing a water rescue.

“I want to recognize and celebrate 14-year-old Dolores O’Rourke of Wailua who rescued a visitor in distress in the currents and rocks fronting the Kaua‘i Sands hotel, Sunday,” A.K. (name restricted to initials by author’s request) wrote in an email to TGI. “Dolores saw the person in difficulty, alerted the adults, grabbed her longboard, and paddled out to help. I swam out, too, but Dolores had already reached the person and began paddling back with her.”

“Dolores knew what to do, how to get out of the current, and thanks to her board and directions, we all got back to land safely,” A.K. said. “Dolores has participated in the Junior Lifeguard programs, so I must congratulate the County of Kaua‘i for teaching the keiki about water safety and lifesaving. But most of all, thank you, Dolores, for your swift action, water skills, and selfless dedication to those in need.”

Cleve Zarbaugh and Tyrus Siale, Kaua‘i Ocean Safety Bureau Junior Lifeguard instructors, both recognized O’Rourke as a participant in previous programs hosted by the county with support from several community sponsors, like the current ongoing fundraising campaign Round-Up Challenge hosted by Island Ace Hardware in Princeville.

A similar situation took place last week when Island Ace Hardware owner Mark Schulein visited the program being held at Wanini Beach when the Kaua‘i Junior Lifeguard class, including its Keiki Division, were involved in a water rescue the day before Schulein’s visit.

“It was just like this,” Siale said. “Everything happened quickly, and we just responded.”

Siale said the Juniors were involved in a Rescue Relay activity with a pair of snorkelers in the background.

“They were close to each other at first,” Siale said. “I knew they were in trouble when they separated. When I reached them, he couldn’t even communicate because they were from South America. By that time, he was in a state of panic that he couldn’t even float on the buoy. He kept sinking the buoy.”

Siale said one of the Juniors was coming out to the buoy with a Rescue Tube, and he told the Junior to bring him the Rescue Tube, and together, the group made shore to await the first responders.

The Round-Up Challenge, which runs through July 31, is an opportunity for Island Ace Hardware shoppers to benefit and help the Kaua‘i Lifeguard Association, a strong supporter of Kaua‘i’s lifeguards. The challenge is simply for shoppers to bring along their loose change, or if purchasing an item, “round” the price to the next dollar, or desired amount. All of the proceeds will be turned over to KLA in support of the Ocean Safety Bureau lifeguards that includes the Kaua‘i Junior Lifeguard Program.

“Island Ace Hardware does not just want to contribute,” Schulein said. “We want to support those programs that benefit the community and make a difference.”

The Kaua‘i Junior Lifeguard program is in its final week, with the final day being Thursday at Kalapaki Beach.

Open to Keiki, young people between ages 8 through 11 years old, and Juniors, youth between 12 through 17 years old, the program was limited due to the Centers for Disease Control guidelines surrounding the COVID-19.

Enrollment for the four programs was fully registered within minutes of announcing, and each of the sessions that started at the Salt Pond Beach Park on June 22 was fully attended, including the sites at the Hanalei Pavilion, Wanini Beach, and finally, at Kalapaki Beach where instruction was centered around ocean safety awareness and lifesaving skills utilizing fun and competitive activity.

“It’s easy if someone teaches you what to do,” said Tracy Tucker, a spectator who stopped to watch the Kalapaki Beach group warm-up for the day with a run down the sand.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.


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