Lifeguard eyes future
DYLAN Klein can't wait for next summer when the Tweed Shire Rookie-Lifeguard-Of-The-Year gets a chance to don the iconic yellow and red uni- form, hopefully on a full-time basis.
But before then the 18-year-old will have to complete his studies for his Higher School Certificate at Kingscliff High School, and then decide whether he wants to spend his working life on the beach or wearing a shirt and tie.
“After school I was thinking about going to uni to study fin- ance or business,” said Mr Klein, who is also a member of the Cudgen Headland Surf Life Saving Club.
“But I would love to try out to be a lifeguard for next season, and could see myself spending a few years on the beach. I grew up on the beach; my dad (Phil) is a long-time member of Cudgen SLSC and so are me and my sister Codie.
“It was just a natural thing to do and it's great to know that you are helping to keep the community safe.”
But the first-time professional lifeguard, who was awarded for his efforts at the Australian Lifeguard Service end-of-season event held in Ballina on Saturday night, thinks that just because he got to spend six weeks last summer patrolling beaches on the Tweed, doesn't mean his life is a beach.
“Being a lifeguard can be the easiest job; that is until something happens, and then it becomes the hardest job when your decision can literally mean the difference between life and death.”
The Tweed's Lifeguard-Of-The-Year, Katrina Wilkinson, did not know that she had received the award until Sunday, because she has taken on another emergency services role, working as a trainee paramedic in Sydney for the NSW Ambulance Service.
“Katrina is a very deserving winner because she is not only calm in a crisis, but is great with members of the public as well,” said NSW ALS manager, Stephen Leahy.
“This is important because our job is as much about being ambassadors for our area as much as it is keeping people safe in the surf.”