DAP Featured Member:
"A man is not fully educated until he can read, write and swim." - Plato
Organization: City of Ft. Lauderdale Recreation and Aquatic Coordinator in charge of training, CIP projects, and inservice, Adjunct Professor at Ball State University, and Swim Central Program founder in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
What are your aquatic interests? Pool operations, aquatic training, and drowning prevention
Please describe your Aquatics Background? When did you start? Why do you love aquatic activities?
My Uncle was a supervisor of a pool and threw me in at two and learned from there. I was always around pools, swimming on swim teams, and teaching.
After having my near death experience, November 1980, where I went into ventricular fibrillation and I died for two minutes on the operating table, they defibrillated me and brought me back and I had to learn how to walk, talk, and do everything all over. I had retro-grade amnesia. I don't remember anything, but I kept a journal from when I was eight and so I had to re-learn who I was. That's where I got my mission to teach people life-saving skills. I remembered life has purpose, and my purpose is to teach people life saving skills.
Because I was saved by CPR, I became a CPR instructor and then a CPR instructor-trainer, and then a Lifeguard instructor-trainer, and then a WSI instructor-trainer, where I have up to 13 different instructor-trainer certifications.
What I really loved was my experience on the beach patrol as Lifeguard Lieutenant for Pompano Beach.
I really love using all my talents for the drowning prevention aquatic effort. I'm a musician and so I use my musical talents to teach water safety in 8 water-safety songs. I also created a character that people can identify with and use mnemonic MARS (Motivation, Association, Repetition and Senses) in order to get those to learn the gospel of water safety.
Additional involvement in aquatics
I'm President of The Swim Foundation 501C3 for Swim Central drowning prevention in Broward County, Vice-President of Every Child A Swimmer
I also worked with Errol Duplessis
on the Junior Lifeguard program for the American Red Cross where we helped write the book, The Guard Start
and come up with the FIND model (Figure out the problem, Identify the possible solutions, Name the pros and cons, and Decide which solution is best, then act on it), which is in all the lifeguard books now.
In 2012 I received the G. Harold Martin Award
from the International Swimming Hall of Fame ["for long and exceptional leadership, insight and dedication to the water safety of children and the cause of making Every Child A Swimmer."]
What are some other things you would like the members to know about you or your program(s)?
Since 1999, the Swim Central program has taught over 300,000 children water safety lessons and not one of those children has become a drowning statistic.
I want everyone to learn that for thousands of years, we were the greatest swimmers on the planet and then came along slavery and that kicked that legacy away. So I feel that part of my mission in aquatics is to spread untold gospel of water safety and history of the African experience in aquatics. I want people to re-learn and re-claim their history and legacy.