Diving back into lifeguarding at 63 years old
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) -Too many pools and beaches but not enough lifeguards has become a national issue, but it’s one an Ocean Springs woman is working to change.
Rose Harmon was a lifeguard back in the ‘70s. Now, the 63-year-old is getting back in the pool nearly 50 years later.
“We moved back here from Alaska,” said Harmon, who also taught school for 39 years. “We actually bought our old home. We put in a pool. We have grandkids, and I wanted to make sure I was up to date on how to save them.”
Harmon dove into the deep end of lifeguarding. She got certified as a shallow-water and deep-water lifeguard, and now she’s working on her Water Safety Instructor credentials.
“I had been a lifeguard at the ages of 18-21 and had taught swimming before, but it’s been a while,” she said. “I found out what the requirements were, and I came in and started practicing.”
The main reason she dipped her toes back into the water, aside from her grandkids, is the tremendous shortage of lifeguards all over the country.
“Rose is absolutely a prodigy,” said Mandy Clark, aquatics director at the Ocean Springs YMCA. “She’s the most well-seasoned on staff. We start at 15, so seeing the older generation come in and get back into the workforce and give back, they have a different perspective on life.”
Harmon said it’s all about knowledge, safety and availability.
“Every city, every state has shortages. People like me who used to lifeguard years ago and have teaching experience, we’re the type of people centers are looking for to hire,” she said.
Click here to subscribe to WLOX News on YouTube: Keep up with South Mississippi news, sports, and local events on our YouTube channel!
Copyright 2023 WLOX. All rights reserved.