A town of Palm Beach lifeguard who knows these waters really well was recently given a Kunkel award by the Palm Beach Civic Association. We caught up with him at his place of work (See video above).
It is the shimmering magnet that draws so many of us here. The closest proximity to the warm Gulf Stream on the entire East Coast. It’s the reason that Henry Morrison Flagler decided that this was the place he would develop Palm Beach.
Chief Lifeguard Craig Pollock knows these waters intimately. He’s been a lifeguard for the Town of Palm Beach for 30 years. Before that he was a surfer and he grew up on our beaches. He knows firsthand that it is a treacherous beauty.
It was clear a few months into the job, and as soon as he got on duty that day, there was someone floating face down.
“It was like something out of a movie,” said Mr. Pollock. “I mean he was purple. I was doing CPR. I was giving him ventilations. Right when he was about to do the paddles and shock him the guy’s chest rose. That was pretty wild.”
It was the first of many rescues. In March of 2018, during a huge swell, two people, tourists walking a town beach that was closed, were suddenly pulled out to sea.
“A large swell came in and it scooped a lady right off her feet,” said Mr. Pollock. “All I saw was this head of hair going, getting pulled out to sea, face down. So I automatically just went.”
That rescue earned Mr. Pollock the Kunkel Award from the Civic Association. Raymond J. Kunkel award is given each year to individuals or organizations that render heroic or meritorious service to the Town of Palm Beach.
“I have tremendous respect for the ocean,” said Mr. Pollock. “Mother Nature is going to win out over man. People have to give it the utmost respect when coming here when it’s rough.”
There are six full-time and eight part-time Town of Palm Beach lifeguards watching over our beaches 365 days a year.