HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif.— April 21, 2010 The National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) recognized national and community drowning prevention leaders on April 26, 2010 at the NDPA’s 9th Annual
National Drowning Prevention Symposium at the Sheraton Station Square
in Pittsburgh, PA.

Cecilia Duer will receive the 2010 National Lighthouse Award, the NDPA’s highest honor. Duer, executive director of the National Water Safety Congress since 2002, was selected for her
leadership in water safety and drowning prevention. She also serves as
the executive director of the Spirit of America Foundation and directs
its youth education programs, and is involved in other national
organizations dedicated to aquatic safety including the National
Boating Safety Advisory; NASBLA Education Committee; Ohio DNR Division
of Watercraft; and the NWSC Rescue Recover, Re-Warm and PWC courses.

NDPA Executive Director Kristin Goffman says, “Cecilia is a true leader in this effort, managing numerous national projects. Her work in critical areas of water safety education has advanced drowning
prevention efforts across the nation. She is a leading force in water
safety, and she was selected by the NDPA board because she embodies the
spirit of this award.”

Previous Lighthouse Award winners were Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Nancy Baker, whose tireless efforts helped to achieve passage of national legislation, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool
& Spa Safety Act, named in memory of Baker’s daughter, who drowned
through entrapment on a spa drain.

Four NDPA Community Lifesaver Awards will be presented. This award honors exceptional work in the advancement of drowning prevention at the community or regional level through education, research, public
awareness, legislative changes, or engineering advancements. Winners
were peer-nominated and selected by the NDPA board based on set

Jim Reiser with Swim Lessons University was selected for his leadership in promoting drowning prevention in his local community of Columbia, South Carolina through a multi-faceted
approach including swim instruction, water safety awareness, and media
outreach. Reiser designed an innovative water safety & swim
proficiency awards program using a color-coded arm band system, incorporating various colors with different levels of swimming ability. He has partnered with USA Swimming’s Make a Splash Campaign, authored books for parents on water safety, and serves as the water safety chairperson for Safe Kids Midlands in Columbia.

Julian “Duke” Brown with Horry County School District was selected for his dedication to the prevention of drowning in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. For the past ten years, Brown has
coordinated a Junior Lifeguard Program for 5th grade
students that meets state curriculum standards and encompasses water
safety information and practices. The program Brown developed promotes
appreciation and understanding of local aquatic environments and helps
students develop specific abilities to save lives in and out of the
water, and to assist swimmers in distress. Over 500 students have
completed this after-school program.

Gary Gray, a Vashon Aquatic Club swim parent and board member, was inspired by his then five-year-old son’s desire to become a diver after watching the 2004 Olympic Diving competition. Gray
immediately got involved in local swim programs and Vashon Island’s
only competitive swim team–the Seals. In 2009, Washington State’s
Vashon Aquatic Club offered the free program to over 300
first-through-third grade students. Goffman says, “His nominators said
that Gary is a tireless champion of getting kids in the water, and
realizes the need for safety around the water since his community lives
on an island. He spreads his passion for water safety by ensuring that
all children have access to swim lessons.”

The San Diego County Aquatic Council, led by Manuel Gonzalez, aquatic director for the city of Chula Vista and Belinda Bencomo, supervising recreation specialist for the city of San Diego
CA, has made furthering aquatic opportunities for San Diegans, water
safety and drowning prevention priorities. The Aquatic Council has a
diverse membership ranging from all 17 municipalities in San Diego
County to numerous public and private agencies, swimming and pool
industry representatives, and interested individuals. The Aquatic
Council works to provide lifeguards with the necessary tools to ensure
that guarded waters are safe, and to educate the public to help reduce
drowning in unguarded waters. The group has been on the forefront of
local and national legislative action and is currently working with
local health departments to help ensure that pool operators in San
Diego comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act.
Goffman reports, “This council demonstrates that a community-based
water safety coalition can make significant advances in drowning
prevention within its local community.”

For further information, visit www.ndpa.org or call (951) 659-8600.


About the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA)

The NDPA was formed in 2004 to maximize efforts to prevent drowning through the development and implementation of strategies to facilitate and improve education, public awareness, effective barrier
codes and greater utilization of layers of protection. This tax-exempt,
501(c)(3) national organization is comprised of individuals,
organizations, government agency representatives, policymakers and
corporations who have the common goal of saving lives. Affiliated
members and programs share “the best of the best” with other members so
that successful efforts can be replicated nationwide, with a goal of
reducing drowning in swimming pools, open bodies of water and household
products such as tubs and buckets

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Comment by Mary Ann Downing on May 4, 2010 at 6:49am
Congratulations to all the award winners, and thank you for your commitment to drowning prevention. Thanks too for traveling to the NDPA Symposium in Pittsburgh, PA to accept your awards in person... you have inspired many. Congratulations and thank you.

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