Naval Station (NAVSTA) Norfolk accompanies the Virginia Region American Red Cross in recognizing two NAVSTA Norfolk lifeguards, who accomplished a heroic feat, at the Lifesaving Award Program on Jan. 21.

The American Red Cross has a Lifesaving Award program that recognizes individuals who have conducted acts of heroism and vigilance, who have responded with haste when time was of the essence and have helped their local communities when assistances was direly needed.

“I’m glad that we were there and had the equipment that we needed to keep him alive,” expressed Sara Baines, one of the recognized lifeguards.

On December 12, 2019, Christian Rapacon and Sara Baines, on-duty lifeguards at the Fleet Recreation Park, took notice of a daily swimmer having difficulties reaching the wall near the shallow end. With rapid responses, both lifeguards entered the pool, making an endeavor to rescue the swimmer.

Once the swimmer was within their grasp, they extracted him onto the pool deck. They immediately noticed that he was unresponsive, and with the training they received from the American Red Cross, they strived to keep the swimmer alive until the emergency medical services arrived.

Christian Rapacon said, “I’m very proud to have done what we did. Somebody’s life was saved and it just feels great.”

When asked about the preparations the lifeguards undergo, Aquatic Director, Christopher Brooks stated, “My staff spends many hours every year practicing and reviewing our skills with the hopes of never needing to use them. The way they responded to the emergency at the pool shows me how valuable a strong and competent staff is to keeping all our visitors safe.”

The two earned the Lifesaving Awards for their valiant actions that helped save a life in the community. Having individuals that are trained to save lives brings a sense of security to all people that use the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation at NAVSTA Norfolk and other installations throughout the community.

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