During the holiday season I try, as many of us do, to focus on the things I’m thankful for. This year I asked each of our permanent staff members what they, as a representative of the beach patrol, feel most thankful for. Here are their responses:
“… adequate resources to protect almost seven million visitors a year. Also for being provided with the equipment to do this in the form of towers, rescue boards, and state of the art communication systems, water craft, and vehicles.” — Supervisor/Officer Joe Cerdas
“I’m thankful to be able to work on the beach. And being able to interact with the community so closely.” — Supervisor Dain Buck
“I’m thankful for the experience this job has given me and for all the people I connect with.” — Senior lifeguard Nikki Harclerode
“I appreciate that the community and the Park Board is so involved in what we do.” — Capt. Tony Pryor
“I’m grateful for support from the community and other first responder groups, the Park Board administration and other departments we work closely with such as the Coastal Zone Management Department. We’re not roommates, but we all live in the same house and those guys are always there to help us out when needed.” — Senior lifeguard Micah Fowler
“I’m thankful for the Galveston Police Department and the Galveston Fire Department for remaining so supportive toward our community. As a team we have created and maintained a safe beach front for our islanders.” — Supervisor Brandon Venigas
“Working at Beach Patrol for the last 2 1/2 years has been an incredible experience! I’ve met so many wonderful people that have become close family friends and I absolutely love my job. Nothing beats getting to look out on the gulf every single day and I never get tired of pulling into the sandy parking lot to head into work. Working for Beach Patrol instills a great sense of pride and satisfaction knowing that I work for an agency of first responders who help to save lives.” — Sara Lavella, administrative coordinator
“I am blessed to live in a coastal community like Galveston. I am grateful for the support the community shows and the opportunities I get to serve and protect others through my job with Galveston Island Beach Patrol and Galveston Island Swim Team.” — Lt. Kara Harrison
And for me, I echo the themes that run through the tapestry of these statements. I feel so grateful to Galveston for providing the resources and support of all kinds that we receive. I’m lucky to work in a physical and emotional landscape like the Galveston beach front. Mostly, I appreciate the brave and dedicated men and women that work alongside each other to do this job.
The quotes they gave me were not put on or dressed up. They simply are stating what they feel and how they live. Working with these eight and another 130 or so seasonal lifeguards who feel the same way, who work together toward our shared mission is more of a gift than I could possibly express adequately with words.