In case you haven’t noticed, this beach season started with a bang and has been rolling in like a freight train. Last weekend was packed, and this weekend we’re looking at Cinco de Mayo, which has become a big beach holiday.

The following weekend will be another big one with Gay Splash Day on May 12, which can be a big event. That’s also the weekend we start our May Lifeguard Academy, so if you know anyone that would like to be a beach guard this summer tell them tryouts are at 7 a.m. Saturday; information is on our website. We’d like to have 50 new guards, so we’re hoping for a big turnout.

Cinco de Mayo is the celebration of the Mexican victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862. It’s a bigger holiday here in the U.S. than in Mexico, though, and has come to be associated with the celebration of the Mexican-American culture. Here on the Texas coast it’s a huge beach family day.

Bill Bower is one of a small, hardcore group of guards who started working at first opportunity in March. Bill joined us first as a Wave Watcher volunteer, then decided that after a lifetime of swimming he’d have no problem qualifying as a lifeguard. In his mid-60s, Bill sets a great example for our staff in all kinds of areas including commitment, discipline, tourist relations, and enjoyment of a great job with a great bunch of people.

He’s been posted up in the 61st Street area all spring working one of our busiest areas with ease. He can often be seen watching his water while chatting with all kinds of people enjoying his beach. That’s why it’s not unusual that he approached an elderly woman walking on the beach, and with his trademark big smile said, “I notice you walking out here all the time. You should join Wave Watchers.” He said she looked at him with a blank expression. She then replied, “Sir, I walk and do Zumba every day.”

He said he took a minute to absorb before the lightbulb went on. He asked her how she kept from getting angry and slapping him. He went on to explain that he didn’t say “Weight Watchers” and told her that “Wave Watchers” is a volunteer group that assists the Beach Patrol with a number of things, but is a great fit for people that walk, fish, or even drive around the beach regularly. As the Chief Lifeguard for the Beach Patrol I have to say I really appreciate Bill’s good-natured approach. Instead of dealing with a PR nightmare we’re potentially looking at a new member to our Wave Watcher cadre!

So, buckle up! It’s beach season again and looks to be a busy, busy year. No telling what adventures and challenges lay in store for all of us who work or recreate on the beach. But Bill’s example of patience, humor, and respect will point us in the right direction.

Peter Davis is chief of the Galveston Island Beach Patrol. The views in this column are Davis’ and do not necessarily represent those of the Beach Patrol, Galveston Park Board of Trustees or any other entity.

(1) comment

Jarvis Buckley

You do a great job👍

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