The Town of Tillsonburg officially recognized and thanked the efforts of three teenagers Wednesday afternoon, July 18, at the Lake Lisgar Water Park during Drowning Prevention Week.
Swimming in the Big Otter Creek, Nathanael Redecop, 16, and his cousins, Caleb Dyck, 13, and Zach Dyck, 15, were able to prevent two, and possibly even three drownings in Vienna on June 17.
“We are very fortunate to be able to teach thousands of children how to swim every year,” said Julie Dawley, Town of Tillsonburg Supervisor of Aquatics, “and this is the result of that.”
“We’ve got some very special people to recognize today,” said Rick Cox, Director of Recreation, Culture and Parks, nodding toward Redecop, from Vienna, and the Dycks from Luton, near Aylmer.
“This week is Drowning Prevention Week all across Canada, and here in Ontario about 166 people die in preventable water-related incidents every year,” said Cox. “One hundred and sixty-six, that’s way too many. Even one drowning is way too many, but today we get to celebrate a drowning that didn’t happen – an amazing thing. Three lives were saved by the folks that we’re honouring today.
“We have the pleasure of honouring some pretty special young men who learned how to swim right here in our own swimming community,” he added.
“On behalf of our municipal council and the residents of the Town of Tillsonburg, thank you for being here today… and most importantly for recognizing the courageous acts of three young men,” said Tillsonburg Mayor Stephen Molnar. “They’re not from Tillsonburg, but we’re a community that celebrates our region and our friends across our region. And these young men are a perfect example.”
As children and adults enjoyed the Lake Lisgar Water Park pool in the background, Molnar also recognized the town’s aquatic leadership team, those who have been lifeguards in town, and the town’s aquatic facilities.
“This is one of those special places in our community where youth get to grow up and gain experience, and learn about teamwork and learn about values. And I’m extremely proud of that. They’ve gone on to become leaders in their own communities in their own fields, and a lot of those next generation of community leaders are here today. They’re your lifeguards of today, but they are potentially your heroes and leaders of tomorrow.”
Molnar said Wednesday’s recognition ceremony was about more than a celebration of youthful heroism. It was about awareness.
“It’s also an indication of the value of understanding water. Water should be our friend. It’s something we should be introduced to in a responsible way early in our lives. And this is a proper environment to do that. I’m respectful and thankful that these fine young gentlemen had the opportunity to do that.
“So on behalf of a proud community, a thankful family, and those whose lives you positively impacted, we thank you,” said Molnar, who presented certificates to each of the teens assisted by Dawley, ‘in recognition of your courageous lifesaving efforts by the Town of Tillsonburg.’
“The (Drowning Prevention) awareness that we learn and celebrate today is not one day a year,” said Molnar. “And it’s not just reflected upon the heroism of these fine young gentlemen because they were in a position to help their friends, their family and their neighbours. Water safety is 365 days a year, it’s about indoor pools, outdoor pools, it’s lakes, it’s ponds, it’s rivers, it’s streams. And because these young men and their families realized the value of respect for water, and learning, swimming and rescue, there are others who are there to share the tale.
“Gentlemen, congratulations. Thank you again.”
Before concluding the ceremony, Cox noted that Redecop plans to attend what the Town is calling its ‘Lifeguard University’ – a series of lifeguard and instructor courses this summer.
“We’re thrilled that he’s able to join us. It’s certainly open to others who are 16 years of age and older – we’re always looking for young folks who want to learn to be lifeguards, and learn to be swimming instructors, who eventually after a few more years might end up being aquatic supervisors, recreation managers… this is a great start to an excellent career in recreation or beyond.
“Thank you very much Nathanael, glad you’re going to be able to join us,” Cox summed up, noting the lifeguard offer in the fall is open to anyone 16 or older. “If you were once a lifeguard and you now find you have some time on your hands and you’d like to make a few dollars, we’re looking for some help.”