Words and Image by Jenny Lynn Davis
During the regular meeting of the Jasper City Council on August 1, the hardworking lifeguards of the Memorial Park Natatorium were recognized for their exceptional service and dedication to ensuring the safety of swimmers this summer. The recognition came as a fitting tribute following the National Lifeguard Appreciation Day celebrated on July 31.
Natatorium Manager and Aquatics Director, Stacy Smothers, presented the group of lifeguards, all between the ages of 15 and 17, to the Mayor and Council. Smothers applauded the young lifeguards for their outstanding performance, highlighting that this summer saw the highest number of lifeguards serving at the Natatorium in the last four years, with a total of 29 lifeguards on duty.
Noting the increased presence of lifeguards, Smothers said, “This allowed us to do a lot more and be open more this summer. They’ve really enjoyed themselves and have done great work, so I wanted to let them be recognized for a job well done.”
The group implemented an innovative incentive program this summer, adding an element of motivation and healthy competition among the lifeguards. Each lifeguard has a whistle lanyard to which they have added different colored beads based on their achievements throughout the season. The beads symbolized various accomplishments, such as administering first aid (blue beads) and saving lives (red beads). An impressive 11 lifeguards have been awarded red beads for their life-saving actions this summer.
In addition to recognizing the young lifeguards, Smothers also recognized the Natatorium’s Assistant Manager, Sade Walker-Williams, for 14 years of dedicated service to the facility and the community.
Mayor David O’Mary commended the group for their hard work, emphasizing that not all cities are as fortunate to have sufficient lifeguards to maintain public safety. Some cities continue to face critical shortages, which limits their ability to provide aquatic services. The mayor praised Smothers for recruiting and training capable young lifeguards who have proven themselves invaluable assets to the community.
In other news, the City Council
•Approved event permits for the following events: Unity in the Community Block Party (August 12), POW/MIA Ceremony (September 14), Walker County Sheriff’s Office Fall Festival (October 28), Veteran’s Day Fun Run (November 11)
•Approved the recommendation to accept a bid for the Memorial Park pickleball courts
•Adopted a budget amendment for the emergency purchase of six police units
•Adopted a resolution that allows Mayor O’Mary to enter into an agreement with Nelson Engineering Associates, Inc. for engineering services related to the design and construction of pickleball courts at Memorial Park
•Approved a resolution for nuisance abatement for grass/weeds at one location in District 2 and four in District 5. WL