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Lifeguards for the Handicapped

Lifeguards for the Handicapped

                                   by Jeannie

What they have in common is the desire to be helpful no matter how heavy the cart or how hot the sand and you cannot tip them to show your appreciation and so I am writing this article to thank them

thank you guys, thank you Kismet!

Where ever they are - lifeguards are special. They're a hero to little boys; heartthrob to girls; eye candy to mature women, source of envy to their male counterparts, but most of all respected.

More so this summer with its frequent visits by sharks (How do they tell the difference between sharks and dolphins? - dolphins are mammals and need to come up for air, Sharks use gills to breath with, as fish do, rather than lungs that exchange respiratory gases. so when you see that fin gliding smoothly in your direction and not jumping - lookout!

This requires  more than the average concentration when safe guarding our lives.

Not all days are warm and sunny       - looking for sharks

However in Kismet there is a group of lifeguards who are even more special

They man the section of the beach in front of the handicap ramp, a relatively recent mandated construction when new overpasses to the beach were built after hurricane Sandy.

The other traditional overpasses feature many steep steps prohibitive to those on wheel chairs, scooters, crutches  or baby carriages  and schlepping large wagons of beach gear.

However the elaborate zig zagged ramp ultimately leading to the beach is usually sand laden towards its destination defeating its purpose.

 Going to the beach in the '80's, '90's

In what I consider  the "golden age of Kismet", when the community was 80% group houses, all single,  going to the beach had its own rituals. Instead of placing beach chairs (which were considered for sissies)  group houses would take a blanket to the beach which would eventually be laden with house members, many times sporting customized T-shirts with the name of the house on them - Apples, Bananas, Peaches, Crazy A, Cozy A, Ocean View,  Big Bamboo, Dynasty, Orange Door, Lemon Tree, Last Resort - and these were just the ones towards the beach on Pine!

Also on these blankets would be refreshments, cocktails and occasional boom box until the sand was no longer visible. We blanket hopped planning the parties of the day, who is having a six-ish. posing, flirting etc.

My feet barely touched the sand.

Now 40 years and several botched orthopedic surgeries later which left me with a  marked limp and a balance problem, I can no longer walk on the sand.

You have no idea how deserted a beach town can be during the day.

 I didn’t even attempt the handicap ramp which was always sanded in towards the bottom,  until the end of Covid summer at which time with virtually no one around I set up my beach chair near my scooter halfway down in a curve and named it "handicap beach".

It was as close as I'd gotten to the beach in many years.

 I was a little embarrassed as people climbed over me but intrinsically happy.

One day  towards the end of this summer after I'd settled in on my "beach", a beautiful blonde beach boy popped up and said the magic words "I can take you to the beach".

I thought I was hallucinating and at first declined the offer. Then I slapped my face to see if i was awake and hoped he would return.

This is what pure happiness looks like

Then it was then that I became aware of the beach cart, a simple affair with huge tires which could traverse the sand.

There were two of them, they took me and my chair, placed me near the surf

and so, after in the absence of 10 years, I was finally able to go to the beach again!

so beautiful, so polite, Kismet Heaven!

 These young man and an occasional girl lifeguard  would wheel me from the ramp to the front of the surf, put me on my beach chair and leave me till I wanted to return.

 I cannot tell you how happy this made me to actually sit on the beach again

 They are a modest polite and very accommodating group all of whom have diverse and impressive day jobs in the winter:  here is a list I had to beg and cajole from them

Jack Luquer Chief LG

 22 years exp- Teacher


Peter Lepore senior LG

35 years exp -HS principal 

Shawn Drum Senior LG

33 years exp- county employee 

Russ Youmans Senior LG

31 years exp- county employee 

Ryan Cornell Senior LG

15 years exp- Teacher 

Michael Coan Senior LG

10 years exp- Teacher 

Tom Delesia senior LG 

17 years exp- county employee 

Bailey Imbo LG 

7 years exp- med school student 

Chris Cornell LG

16 years exp- Construction 

Terrance Gardner LG

6 years exp- college student 

Noah Chernik LG

8 years exp- med school student 

Jeff Atlas LG

5 years exp- college student 

Ally Alliegro LG

6 years exp- college student 

Tedder McLaughlin LG

5 years exp- college student 

Chris Delisle LG

5 years exp college student 

Steven Kreuscher LG

Rookie- teacher 

Jake Nielsen LG

Rookie- HS student

Kyle Kreuscher LG

8 years exp- accountant 

They have  been modestly not forthcoming, they are mostly teachers of  math, science and even handicapped children,  One is a school principal, another a retired cop. Some are even high school seniors, others have been teaching for years.

What they have in common is the desire to be helpful no matter how heavy the cart or how hot the sand and you cannot tip them even though you want to show your appreciation and so I am writing this article to thank them.

They are not special lifeguards chosen for the handicapped .They are the luck of the draw but the luckiest one is me to be able once again to sit on the beach

                          Thank you guys

                                                      Thank you Kismet