G. Harold Martin Award
Presented for long and exceptional leadership, insight and dedication to the water safety of children and the cause of making Every Child A Swimmer.
James S. O'Connor
Currently, Mr. O’Connor is the Aquatics Program Manager for Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department, the third largest parks & recreation system in the United States and the largest municipal learn-to-swim provider in Florida. His duties with Miami
Dade County include evaluating and training aquatic personnel; identifying and correcting risks associated with aquatic facilities; and promoting aquatic safety and programs to the public. Mr. O’Connor also serves as Co Chair of the Miami-Dade Drowning Prevention Coalition and operates a private practice as an Aquatics Safety Consultant.
Past aquatic positions he has held include: Adjunct Professor at the University of Miami, Aquatics Coordinator for the American Red Cross Greater Miami and the Keys Chapter, Aquatic Director and Head Swim Coach at the University of Oregon, and serving on the “Advisory Council” of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance. Mr. O’Connor holds numerous certifications such as: American Red Cross Lifeguard instructor Trainer and W.S.l. lT, PADI and NAUI Scuba instructor, and an EMT-B License. As a Red Cross Instructor Trainer, he has certified thousands of swim instructors and overseen aquatic programs that have provided hundreds of thousands of children with learn-to-swim classes.
In 1986, Judge Martin was instrumental in placing a portable pool in a cafeteria in one of the Dade County elementary schools in order to help initiate the Kiwanis “Every Child A Swimmer” program. Coincidentally, Jim O’Connor arrived at this same time in Miami and was with the American Red Cross overseeing certification of Lifeguards and Water Safety Instructors working in Miami including Dade (Miami-Dade) County schools. Today the portable pool project is still in use and utilizes six pools to provide swim lessons to disadvantaged children at elementary schools across the county.
Nationally, Mr. O’Connor has presented aquatic safety information on “World News Tonight with David Muir” and at various conferences including the Council for National Cooperation in Aquatics, National Park and Recreation Association, National Spa & Pool institute, National Drowning Prevention Alliance and the United States Power Squadrons. He has been a contributor on several American Red Cross training manuals in lifeguarding and water safety. ln 1986, the National Swimming Pool Foundation published his book “A United States Accidental-Drowning Study”. This book studied over 30,000 drowning cases for a five-year period of time and remains as one of the most comprehensive books ever written on the epidemiological aspects of drowning.
Mr. O’Connor holds a Master of Science degree in Leisure Studies & Services from the University of Oregon with a specialization in Aquatics.
David S. Duda (USA)
David Duda has been an aquatic professional for 60+ years and has been active in Florida aquatics for 31 of those years. He is the founder and CEO of MDM Aquatics/ Safety Training & Consulting, working closely with many community clients including five cities (Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Davie, Dania Beach and Cooper City), Memorial Health Care Systems, Seminole Tribe of Florida and Seminole Hard Rock Casino.
Prior to moving to Florida, Dave spent four years in Family YMCA’s as an Aquatic Director. In the 1970’s his two children were born. He promoted a very important new aquatics program for infant and preschool swim lessons. With an emphasis in family learning, he was actively teaching swimming and safety lessons using his own children in demonstrating skills and water play. This successful program grew very quickly.
Dave’s expertise in efficiency in the water also played a great role in his successful coaching of swimming and diving at age group, high school and collegiate levels as well. In 1987, Dave accepted the Aquatics Manager position at FIU in North Miami where he partnered with the FIU Early Education Department to initiate a swim / safety program for their pre-school participants. He also collaborated with many aquatics professionals throughout Florida to promote aquatics lessons and develop strong teachers. He hosted three successful ARC National Aquatics Schools with 300+ participants earning various Red Cross certifications. Dave received the Greater Miami ARC Chapter “Volunteer of the Year” Award.
In 1992, Dave took an assignment as an Associate in Program Development at the ARC National Headquarters in Washington D.C. working on the WSI program update. Today, he is an active member of the Broward Drowning Prevention Task Force and regularly invites new aquatic professionals for involvement. He is a former member of International Swimming Hall of Fame Executive Advisory Committee. He has been involved in spring break aquatic instructor training at Ball State University, and summer swim lessons at American Heritage and Beacon Hill private schools.
His focus continues to help teach aquatic skills to children and mentor instructors in diverse populations in aquatics. He partners with Seminole Tribe of Florida to train and certify aquatics staff as well as promote swim lesson programs in their preschool. He recently consulted with Florida Kiwanis District Chair in Naples and helped develop a brochure for Every Child A Swimmer to distribute at their state convention. The ECAS outreach program partners with communities and families to help reduce child drownings.
Lana Whitehead (USA)
Lana Whitehead has owned and operated SWIMkids USA for 43 years. She is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine and was a representative of the Sports Medicine Delegation to China in 2009 where she presented at the Beijing Sports University.
She has authored five books on swimming and brain development, and has lectured nationally and internationally at many conferences and government forums. Her method has been featured nationally on the NBC Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, That’s Incredible, Disney’s Epcot Magazine, The Montel Williams Show, Omni’s Medical Documentary and PM Magazine. Her articles have been featured nationally in Parents Magazine, Parenting Magazine, Brain World Magazine, American Baby Magazine, Babytalk Magazine, and Pregnancy and Newborn Magazines.
Lana received a BA in Exercise Physiology and a Masters in Special Education, specializing in Sensory Integration. Lana has been involved in competitive swimming as a coach, and is a state and national USA Swimming official.
Lana was named Community Lifesaver of the Year in 2011 by the National Drowning Prevention Alliance. She received the Western Region Award for outstanding efforts, accomplishments, and contributions to water safety by the National Water Safety Congress in March 2013. In 2007 and 2012, she received the Hall of Fame and the Humanitarian Award from the United States Swim School Association for outstanding service to the local community. In 2012 and 2013, Lana and her SWIMKids received the Best of Aquatics Award from the Aquatics International Association, as well as the Best of Aquatics Community Outreach Award. And in 2015, USA Swimming awarded Mrs. Whitehead the Adolph Kiefer Safety Commendation Award.
In addition to receiving numerous awards from the aquatics community, Lana Whitehead has been recognized by her local peers as well. She received the Health Care Heroes Award from Phoenix Business Journal in 2014 and in 2016 she was the recipient of the Health Care Leadership Award for Community Impact from the Arizona Business Association. Most recently, in 2017, Lana received the Spirit in Enterprise Award for Social Impact from Arizona State University’s J.P. Carey’s College of Business.
Dr. Klaus Wilkens (GER)
Born in 1942, in Luneburg, Germany, Dr. Klaus Wilkens holds a degree in Management and Educational Theory, a Bachelor in “Diplom-Handelslehrer”, and a PhD in management, banking and accounting (University of Hamburg). He worked one year as a Cost Account Manager in the Hamburg Sparkasse Bank and another 38 years as a lecturer at the University of Hamburg teaching economics, management science, accounting and banking until his retirement.
Dr. Wilken’s voluntary lifesaving activities are numerous at the national level in Germany. He started as an instructor for lifesaving, rescue diving and water rescue service (1963-present). He continues serving as Chairman of the local swimming club, Verein Volksbadeanstalt (1974-present), Chairman of the Committee of National Swimming Sports Federations (1975-1998), Chairman of the National Federation for Supporting the Swimming Education (1998-present), and a Member of the Board of the Margot-Probandt-Franke-Foundation (1998).
Dr. Wilkens has been extensively involved in the activities of the German Life Saving Society (DLRG) on all levels of its hierarchy. This included work at its local level with involvement at the DLRG-Club Luneburg, as a member of the Board for Education and Youth (1961-1968), Chairman of the Board (1968-1999) and Honorary Chairman of the Board (1999-present), as well as his work at the DLRG-Verlag und Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH as a member (1988-1995) and Chairman (1995-present) of the Advisory Council. On a higher National level, at DLRG, he served as Vice-Chairman of the Youth Organization, Deputy Member of the Board (1971-1974), Technical Director/Member of the Board (1974-1989), Treasurer/Member of the Board (1989-1995), Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Education of Hotel Ltd. (1995-present), Vice President (1995-1998), and President (1998-present).
Apart from his important administrative roles, Klaus has been involved in several special drowning prevention projects for children in the last 25 years. This includes beach festivals for children in water safety (1988), the “Kindergarten-Day” (2001-present), and swimming teaching in the kindergartens (2006-present). As a result, during the last decade, the drowning rate of children aged 0-15 years old in Germany, was reduced by 80%.
In addition to his voluntary life-saving activities in Germany, Klaus played a very important key role at the international level for the last four decades. More precisely, he was responsible for the international sport, education and rescue activities in DLRG (1974-1989). At the Federation Internationale de Sauvetage Aquatique (FIS), he served as a member of the Technical Commission (1974-1989), Secretary General (1985-1994), and Moniteur (1997). At the Federation for Supporting International Lifeguarding, he served as Vice President (1987-1999) and President (1999-). At the International Life Saving Federation of Europe (ILSE) he acted as Secretary General (1994-1997), President (1997-2012) and Honorary Life-President (2012-). Finally, at the International Life Saving Federation, he was the Vice President (1998-2012) and President (2012). He is an ILS-International Instructor since 1989.
Further to his international administration contributions he served the water safety field by participating in various international initiatives. He was involved in lifeguard and lifesaving instructor educational projects in 16 countries for over 20 years. He conducted several co-operations with the European Association for Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion, the European Child Safety Alliance, the Foundation for Environmental Education Blue Flag Campaign and made several risk assessment training courses in different European countries. In addition, he was the chief organizer of “EC 2005”, the World Sport Lifesaving Championships of “RESCUE 1990” and “RESCUE 2008” that were all held in Germany, the Series European Qualification Framework for lifesaving and contributed to the development of Safety Information Boards in Germany (and other parts of Europe) in combinations with risk assessments. Dr. Wilkens’ work has been repeatedly awarded nationally and internationally.
Dr. Jane Katz
Dr. Jane Katz has been on the aquatic stage for most of her life. She has taught thousands of students about the benefits of water fitness at the City University of New York since 1964. She is a professor at John Jay College in the Department of Physical Education and Athletics, teaching fitness and swimming to New York City’s police and firefighters.
Dr. Katz has been recognized for her work as an educator, aquatics innovator and author. Among the many prestigious honors for her work is the Townsend Harris Academic Medal from her Alma Mater, CCNY, an award bestowed to fellow alumnus, former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Dr. Katz earned her Bachelor’s degree in physical education at the City College of New York, a Master’s in Education Administration from New York University and both a Master’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation for Aging and her Doctor of Education degree in Gerontology from Columbia University.
Dr. Jane Katz was awarded the Federation Internationale de Natation Amateur (FINA) Certificate of Merit for her “dedication and contribution to the development” of the sport of swimming, awarded in Sydney, Australia, during the XXVII Olympiad in 2000.
In 2007, Katz helped create the KARE (Kids Aquatic Re-Entry), in cooperation with the Department of Juvenile Justice to help troubled youth learn life’s lessons poolside. Jane has been helping kids from troubled backgrounds since the mid 1980’s learn how to swim, and in the process, learn to trust someone new and have a little fun as well. Katz volunteers her time and usually pays the lifeguards out of her own pocket. The kids usually come from a group home or a correctional facility and time in the pool is a real freedom for them. They may be reluctant at first, but by the time Jane gets done with them, they have experienced a little piece of heaven.
Jane’s life was shaped by swimming in the city’s public pool’s, she has said and she wound up dedicating her life to teaching swimming, for which she has been honored many, many times.
In 2014, she was awarded from the Presidents’ Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition a Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in aquatics.
In 2015, Dr. Katz launched W.E.T. 4 VETS, a service for rehabilitating the mind, body and spirit of military veterans re-entering civilian life using holistic exercise techniques.
Johnny & Cindy Johnson - Blue Buoy Swim School
Johnny and Cindy Johnson are owners of Blue Buoy Swim School in Tustin, California. It is one of California’s oldest private swim schools and many of their students have achieved elite status in competitive swimming and water polo, including seven who have competed in the Olympics or set World Records.
As co-owners of the Blue Buoy Swim School, they each bring unique talent and experience to the partnership. Cindy has a cum laude degree in accounting and finance and over 40 years of corporate experience. In 1999, Cindy left the corporate world to take over the office management of the swim school and spend some time in the pool. Like Johnny, she has given many children a wonderful start to their aquatic journey, including a three year old named Jessica Hardy.
Always concerned with water safety, Cindy and Johnny founded the Swim for Life Foundation (SFL) in 2004 and with it, created the Safer 3 Drowning Prevention program. The Safer 3 Early Education Drowning Prevention Program curriculum is being taught in school districts and preschools across the nation, and their message is gaining international recognition. Both are on the Board of Directors of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA). Cindy is currently treasurer of both organizations, as well as Blue Buoy Swim School.
Johnny brings over 48 years of teaching experience; he has coached high school water polo, swimming, synchronized swimming and SCUBA. He is a past president of NDPA and President of the SFL Foundation, as well as charter member and past president of the US Swim School Association, and co-author of its Infant Toddler course that has
been adopted by thousands of instructors worldwide.
Johnny & Cindy have been invited to speak on Blue Buoy’s unique philosophy and teaching methodology in Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Canada, Mexico, and throughout the United States.
Born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1952, Barry Shaw began his career with Every Child a Swimmer
as a Director, but soon became Vice President.
At age four, he nearly drowned at the old Holiday Hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach. Luckily he was revived, and the experience didn’t make him fear the water. He soon joined the Junior Olympic
Swim Team, coached by Jack Nelson. His real love was yet to come: surfing! He first began body boarding at age ten and a couple of years later, he began surfing and soon joined the Greenback Surf Club.
Barry traveled to Puerto Rico and California and was voted the most improved surfer in the Greenback Surf Club. He won the State Surfing Championship, and with Bill Stewart, they became the two top surfers in the state, competing together over the next few years. He traveled to Hawaii and competed in Costa Rica and was elected President of South Florida Surfing Association, competing on long boards. He competed in both professional and amateur events.
Barry’s main contribution to swimming was as Director of Every Child a Swimmer, eventually serving as Executive Vice
President of the organization.
In 1993, as the President of the Kiwanis Club of Pompano Beach, Barry led his group in starting an Every Child a Swimmer,
Learn to Swim project, which taught over 2000 children about water safety.
His enthusiasm for the Every Child a Swimmer concept continues, a position in which he continues to serve in.
In 1999, when Swim Central was under consideration his program was continually presented as an example of “it can be
done”, and it was.
He was founder and President of the S.W.I.M.S. Foundation in support of Swim Central and continues to be involved in
its activities as Treasurer.
Since 2011, Kim Burgess has been the founder and Executive Director of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, a field in which she has been involved for over twenty years.
A graduate of Indiana University, she moved to Fort Lauderdale and in 1990, she became the Membership Director of the Fort Lauderdale YMCA and subsequently was promoted to Director. Five years later she worked for the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
Kim’s extensive background in drowning prevention and water safety included developing and implementing SWIM Central for Broward County Florida Parks and Recreation Division in 1999. She researched, developed and co-wrote verbiage for a new Florida state law (HB 1319) requiring swim instructors that work with children that have special needs, to have an adapted aquatics certification. Since SWIM Central began, parents and guardians have enrolled more than 275,000 children in SWIM Central programs and more than a million swim lessons have been provided.
In 2007, she created and founded the International Swim Instructors Association and developed an online certification course for adapted aquatics. In 2009, she became the Drowning Prevention Health Coordinator for the Broward County Health Department, implementing drowning prevention initiatives for Broward County.
Kim is very active in the community providing training in drowning prevention and water safety to investigators, fire rescue, social workers and family strengthening providers. She is also responsible for all of the data collection, tracking and for reporting of all the drowning prevention initiatives and training in Broward County.
As the Executive Director of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, the NDPA has grown exponentially as a direct result of Kim’s influence and drive within the drowning prevention community. Recently, the NDPA has established local chapters and within the past year, the NDPA has built relationships with a number of entities including the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The NDPA produced a video sponsored by the Consumer Safety commission about the layers of safety measures for swimming pools which have been viewed by 3,361 people in just one year.
In March of 2012, the NDPA earned national recognition for its public education outreach using an extensive social media campaign and won PR Newswire’s “Earnies” Award in the category of ‘Best Outcome Based on Listening, Monitoring, and Measurement.’ Within the first three months of the campaign, NDPA’s Facebook reach grew 140 percent from 848 to 2,031 fans, and Twitter grew from fewer than 100 followers to 435, a 225% percent improvement.
These accolades come as Kim directed the NDPA organization in preparing for the 11th Annual 2012 NDPA Symposium, in San Diego, garnering twice as many attendees as the prior year and forging a new relationship with the United States Coast Guard and the Clarion Safety Systems. The 2013 Symposium in Fort Lauderdale was another overwhelming success.
Kim has held the following positions within three organizations: National Drowning Prevention Alliance 2009 Symposium Chair, Board of Directors NDPA, Broward County Death Review Team, SWIM Foundation Board, Chair Broward County Drowning Prevention Task Force, Palm Beach County Adapted Aquatics Council, Board County Safe Kids Coalition, Advisory Council International Swimming Hall of Fame, Healthy Start Coalition, ISHOF Adapted Aquatics Committee, and Aquatic/Safety Reviewer for the American Red Cross National Headquarters.
As a Purdue University graduate and leading authority in water safety, aquatics and CPR, Ken Roland is renowned as one of the preeminent instructors in the nation. Currently, Ken teaches water safety courses at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana where as an adjunct instructor he trains and certifies university students in first aid, lifeguarding and water safety instruction. He also teaches certification classes at CPR, Etc., his company that teaches lifesaving skills to the community. In 1992, he received the American Red Cross Instructor of the Year to cement his legacy as one of the best trainers in the nation. In 1993 and 1995, he received the Kiwanis Club Exemplary Service Award. Since knowing of G. Harold Martin’s “Every Child a Swimmer” endeavor, Ken has been a supporter of the program which is taught through Kiwanis Clubs nationwide. In Broward County, it led to the formation of Swim Central which provides swimming lessons to young children in the county at no charge. It has greatly reduced the numbers of drownings in his under-five age group where drownings are the greatest cause of accidental deaths. As the City of Fort Lauderdale Recreation Aquatic Coordinator, his staff has taught half of the children to swim under the Swim Central banner, now totaling 250,000 children.
Since 2003, as Fort Lauderdale’s Aquatic Supervisor, Roland manages all aquatic operations, facilities and personnel. He is responsible to hire, train and certify all personal in water safety, lifeguarding, first aid and CPR and has successfully increased minority applications and positions by over 50%.
From 2000 to 2003, he managed the City of Margate’s 25 yard aquatic facility, boat dock and lake front. From 1996 to 2003, he conducted training in personal survival at sea deploying 12 man rafts for numerous cruise lines. From 1986 to 1999, he was a lifeguard lieutenant for the City of Pompano Beach responsible for hiring and training staff in the art of patron surveillance, rescue board techniques, jet ski and RIB procedures. In Pompano, he implemented the Every Child a Swimmer program from 1993 to 1998 that taught over 42,000 children to swim. While Judge Martin’s son, Jim, serves President of Every Child a Swimmer and Ken currently serves as Vice President.
In Broward County, he became the first African American Instructor Trainer for CPR. He was the first black lifeguard lieutenant on an integrated beach and the only black lieutenant on the entire east coast of the United States. He joined the Drowning Prevention Coalition. A former musician, he wrote six songs about water safety and created a ‘Barney type” character named “Lucky the Dolphin” where he went around to elementary schools singing the gospel of water safety and wearing his “Lucky The Dolphin” costume. He helped write the American Red Cross Guard Start Junior Lifeguard book.
Roland is a founding board member of the SWIMS Foundation, a county advisory and fundraising organization for SWIM Central. He has received the American Red Cross Participation and Support Award (1999), the ARC Cheerleader of the Year (1995), the ARC Instructor for the Year Award (1992), Kiwanis Club Exemplary Service Award (1993, 1995) and the Top Provider Award of the ARC Learn to Swim Program (2009-2010) all of which recognize his service and commitment to water safety. Additionally, Roland has over eight certificates with the American Red Cross and National Swimming Pool Foundation.
Robert E. Ogoreuc
Robert E. Ogoreuc is an Assistant Professor in the Physical Education Department at Slippery Rock University where he also serves as Aquatic Director for the department overseeing the scheduling and operation of the lifeguards for academic classes. He served as the Head Men’s and Women’s Swimming Coach from 1991 to 2003. His teams recorded three undefeated seasons and produced numerous All-Americans. He earned the 1997 PSAC Men’s Coach of the Year.
He holds numerous certifications in the State of Pennsylvania, the American Red Cross WSI-IT and Lifeguard Instructor Trainer, YMCA Open Water Scuba Instructor, and NAUI certification. He has been the driving force in developing the curriculum for the Slippery Rock University Aquatic Minor. He was recognized with Aquatic International Magazine’s one of the 25 Most Powerful People in Aquatics, the AAHPERD’s National Honor Award and teaching awards at SRU. He has served on the Board of Directors to the National Water Safety Congress and the National Drowning Prevention Alliance. In 2002 he participated as a Scientific Diver for the Cambrian Foundations Commodore Project.
Robert has worked with the American Red Cross Water Safety Advisory Group that revised the Water Safety Instructors program in 2004, and served as Technical Reviewer for their Lifeguard Manuals. He has contributed to the United States Lifesaving Association, YMCA and StarGuard lifeguard textbooks and has made numerous presentations at the state, national and international conferences.
He also serves as the Training Officer for the Ocean City Beach Patrol in New Jersey responsible for training all new and recurrent lifeguards and the Ocean City Fire Department in surf rescue. He works as a liaison between government and public safety agencies. He has developed a statewide Surf Rescue Program that is sponsored by the New Jersey State Police.
Robert has published over 30 articles, given over 70 presentations, attended over 90 professional conferences and workshops and held 15 aquatic consulting positions.
Russell "Rusty" Owens
For the past fifty years, “Rusty” Owens has taught and coached swimming to generations of families, including thousands of children and adults in the Central Pennsylvania, Harrisburg area. Recognized by his gravelly voice, he has become a larger than life figure to those lives he has touched, infusing in them his passion for swimming.
When in the military, his swimming career arose from a tragic event that occurred at Parris Island, South Carolina in the mid 1950’s, when a marine drill instructor led a platoon of recruits into a swamp during a nighttime training maneuver. During that exercise, several recruits drowned igniting the Marines to assemble their finest swimming instructors to put together an aquatics learn-to-swim and training program. Rusty was one of the instructors chosen and his passion for teaching swimming was awakened.
Discharged from the Marines, he returned home to Harrisburg where he started teaching swimming lessons at the local YMCA, eventually coaching the local swimming team. He taught his little preschooler “puffins” to swim and provided the fundamental foundations to Olympians Anita Nall (1992 Olympic gold, silver, and bronze medalist in breaststroke) and Jeremy Linn (1996 Olympic breaststroke silver medalist). He has coached at all levels including AAU teams in the Hershey and Harrisburg area, high school teams, summer swim clubs and local Division III colleges. Equally admirable was his ability to create a “learn to swim” program for inner city children in the Harrisburg School District in the early 1970’s. Rusty would drive around town picking up his beginner swimmers to bring them to the pool for lessons.
Rusty’s proudest moments have not been starting off world class swimmers, but developing world class individuals. Taking an awkward, fearful youngster, struggling to take a few strokes and molding he or she into a self-confident streamlined swimmer and worthy citizen has been his forte.
Joy McGinty has dedicated her life to keeping infants safe by teaching them to swim. She has taught over 15,000 children through 500,000 lessons!
In 2000, Joy opened the SouthWest Aquatics, a full service aquatics facility dedicated to teaching very young children, first, to be safe in the water and second, to enjoy a lifetime of aquatic activity, which is known to be one of the healthiest and safest of sports!
Due to the high number of drowning, Joy realized the need for underprivileged children to learn life-saving skills as well as teaching them how fun the water can be! Through the years Joy has worked with the Children’s Ranch, Universal Day Care Center, and the Orange County Head Start program, teaching children to swim, who could not afford it and probably would have never learned. Joy also teaches children with special needs,Autism, Downs Syndrome Blindness, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Brittle Bone Disease and Angelman’s Syndrome, all with amazing results!
Thanks to Joy, there are thousands of children in the Central Florida area that maybe would not have been able to experience the “joy” of swimming, as well as knowing the safety skills.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s concern for children and working families first motivated her to run for office in 1992, where she made history as the youngest woman ever elected to the Florida State Legislature at the age of 26. Wasserman Schultz served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1992-2000 and in the State Senate from 2000-2004. On January 4, 2005, she was sworn in as a member of the United States House of Representatives where she continues her fight for the welfare of children and families as the Congresswoman from Florida’s 20th Congressional District.
While Debbie Wasserman Schultz has made a name for herself in many areas, she is being recognized by the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the G. Harold Martin Award for her efforts to promote water safety and drowning prevention.
In the late 1990’s, Debbie became active with the Broward County Drowning Coalition and was primarily responsible for securing an initial special appropriation to help fund Broward County’s “Swim Central” in 1999 and subsequent appropriations.
“Swim Central” is a one of kind, county wide program that organizes in-school Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Elementary School water safety education and instruction. Since 1999, more than 120,000 children have gone through the SWIM Central program and over 1 million lessons have been provided.
In 2000, Debbie introduced and passed the Preston de Ibern/McKenzie Merriam Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act, which requires that all new residential swimming pools be surrounded by one of four safety barriers. The law was named for two beautiful children: Preston de Ibern, who was five years old at the time of his near-drowning and McKenzie Merriam, who was just eighteen months old when she drowned.
James R. Martin
Jim Stump, Seagull Productions
Lynn Rickert has been involved in swimming all of his life beginning as an age group swimmer at the Huntington, Indiana YMCA swimming for the famed Glen Hummer. Later, while in high school, he served as lifeguard and swim team captain. A star breaststroke champion, Lynn swam on five YMCA national championship teams while participating in six national championships.
After high school graduation in the 1960’s, Lynn attended Ball State University and still found time to volunteer as an assistant high school coach. From there he became head coach at the Kettering YMCA. His involvement in YMCA swimming continued for another 30 years as an official, committeeman and volunteer. His accomplishments include President and Treasurer of the National YMCA Competitive Swimming and Diving Committee, Member of the Olympic International Operating Committee and the USS Board of Directors, President of the National YMCA Board of Directors, Meet Director of the National YMCA Short Course Championships (6 years), and Board Member of Greenville and Randolph County YMCA Board of Directors.
Lynn has served distinctively on the International Congress and Board of Directors of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. He is also Treasurer of ISHOF and brings expertise to the position having been the President and Chief Executive Officer of Union Trust Bank in Union City, Indiana where he lives with his wife Mary Ann. The Rickerts have three children, Jason, Jenny and Jill.
In his volunteer work at ISHOF, Lynn exemplifies the characteristics which represent the Judge Martin Award. He serves with loyalty and persistence.
When not at ISHOF for meetings or events, Lynn operates his farm in Indiana, up early every morning milking the cows and performing farm chores. He is a wholesome person with a kind heart who is always ready to help.
T. Denis Jotcham