Photos by Kevin Cody and Adam Sandler. Used with permission.
On August 3, 2022, the Lifeguard Medal of Valor ceremonial dinner honored brave individuals from the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Lifeguard Division at the King Harbor Yacht Club in Redondo Beach. This annual ceremony is part of the official kick-off to the International Surf Festival.
This year, active and retired Lifeguard personnel were honored with the Medal of Valor, Distinguished Service and Lifetime Achievement Awards.
“We are proud to honor the extraordinary efforts and exceptional acts of bravery performed by our ocean lifeguards who went above and beyond the call of duty, showing an unwavering commitment to the Department and the communities we proudly serve,” said Acting Los Angeles County Fire Chief Anthony C. Marrone.
As the highest honor, the prestigious Medal of Valor was presented to Ocean Lifeguard Nick Wapner for providing life-saving first aid to a world-class surfer, Josh Moniz, while vacationing in Portugal in October 2021. Josh endured a spinal injury while surfing and Nick stabilized his neck with the help of two pro surfers until Portuguese paramedics arrived.
Two Distinguished Service Awards were presented to two groups. The first group, comprised of members from the Lifeguard Division’s Swiftwater Team, received an award for a December 2021 incident at Leo Carrillo State Beach in Northern Los Angeles County. Approximately 40 victims, including 10 minors, four elderly adults, and a 10-month-old infant, were rescued from a major creek and campground flood. This was the largest single water flood in Los Angeles County. The second group honored at the ceremony was made up of five on-duty and off-duty Lifeguard personnel who assisted in a January 2022 ocean rescue at the Topaz Jetty in Redondo Beach. These individuals worked together to rescue a victim and were able to restore a pulse after several minutes.
This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award honoree, retired Lifeguard Section Chief Chris Linkletter, was the first female to receive the award. Chris was honored for being a trailblazer and breaking barriers for the women that followed her in the Lifeguard profession.
Congratulations, 2022 Lifeguard Medal of Valor honorees!
Medal of Valor
• Ocean Lifeguard Nick Wapner
Distinguished Service Award
• Lifeguard Battalion Chief Olivier O’Connell • Ocean Lifeguard Captain Ryan Addison • Ocean Lifeguard Captain Tito Bourget • Ocean Lifeguard Captain Patrick O’Neill • Ocean Lifeguard Captain Remy Smith • Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Ryan Ameche • Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Micah Carlson • Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Lauren Dale • Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Rebecca Gilman • Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Chris Maloney • Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Chris Newman • Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Travis Robinson • Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Tim Ryan • Ocean Lifeguard Captain David Cartlidge • Ocean Lifeguard Captain Arthur Lester • Ocean Lifeguard Captain Christopher Staffield • Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Robert Baird • Ocean Lifeguard Jared Sayers
Lifetime Achievement Award
• Retired Lifeguard Section Chief Chris Linkletter