IT was a hot, humid early morning in June. Kevin Anderson looked like he was about to bust. He was sweating and red, his breath came in raspy gasps, and he was on the verge of collapse. We slowed the pace until he was able to get back to a baseline, then picked it up again.
Every Friday a few of us would do a 6-mile sand run with wind sprints. We’d run to the South Jetty, stretch and then do the sprints and recovery jogs between each of the trash cans on the beach. A long time Beach Patrol employee and athlete, Kevin had been active in lifesaving when he was younger, then barely worked enough to stay on the roster for a few years. Like many of us, after he and his wife, Alana, had children, Kevin went through a period where he gained weight and stopped working out regularly. He was working as a project manager for a large marine engineering firm by day, taking care of his kids, and playing music. There wasn’t much time for fitness.
Beach lifeguarding affects some people for the long term. Lots of our guards are really fit and are young when they work for us, but then life happens. They come back not looking as, shall we say “svelte”. But a small percentage of them turn it around. Kevin did much more than that. He started training with us on a regular basis and got really into all the Lifesaving Sport events. Having a really good swimming background, he took to it like a ….. fish to water (sorry!). He started training with me regularly on the surf ski and paddleboard, hitting the pool, running, and competing locally, regionally, and nationally. He now has a whole bunch of national medals under his belt and is the current reigning Lifesaving Sport athlete for the Beach Patrol. Oh, and did I mention he’s beating all these young athletes around here at a ripe old 40 years of age?
Kevin didn’t stop at just getting back in really good shape and excelling in sport. After deliberating for a couple of years, he decided to change his career as well. He stopped working as a project manager and applied for a full-time job with us. You will see him now out working a lifeguard tower, patrolling on a jet ski, or riding in a rescue truck. And he’s become something of our unofficial in-house Lifesaving Sport trainer.
Recently, Kevin was chosen to represent the Gulf Coast Region of the United States Lifesaving Association on a newly formed Athletes Committee. His duties will include being a conduit of information between Texas Lifeguard Sport athletes and the national Lifesaving Sport Committee and representing the interests of the athletes to the officials and organizers at a national level.
Join me in congratulating Kevin for his appointment. But also, and more importantly for the discipline and courage to make this significant life change, and the choice to spend his considerable talents protecting Galveston’s beach population!