It’s always interesting how chance encounters can lead to great things.
At the “2015 Safe Spring Break Event” at Texas A & M Galveston, Mary Beth Trevino met Mary Stewart of the Galveston Island Beach Patrol. Mary Beth is the Coordinator for the Galveston County Community Coalition of the Bay Area Council on Drugs and Alcohol. Her job involves working to reduce public health risk factors and increase protective factors.
Mary Beth invited Mary Stewart to come and speak at their upcoming May 2015 Town Hall; “Connecting to Create Change”. Mary Stewart presented about the dangers of Swimming under the Influence of drugs and alcohol.
On Thursday, June 9, 2016, Mary Beth was at a meeting with me and Sharon Croissant, Associate Professor, Preventive Medicine & Community Health at UTMB. Sharon has been involved in several joint initiatives between the Beach Patrol and UTMB and was instrumental in starting our “environmental alert” program that involves the use of flying an orange triangular flag from stations and towers in the event of air or water quality issues. She also used Beach Patrol guards as a subject pool for a study on the relationship between particular matter in the air and lung capacity. In a post- meeting conversation we talked about the event Mary Stewart presented at. The conversation shifted to keeping beach crowds safer. Mary Beth, Sharon and I discussed the possibility of providing a set of binoculars to each lifeguard tower to enhance public safety. Sharon was able to secure some grant funding to cover the cost and we’re working on getting that in place before the season starts up again in March.
Another serendipitous conversation that had a great outcome happened recently when I bumped into Kay Sandor at a recent event. Kay was trying to figure out how to bring a disabled woman out to the beach for a labyrinth building event and had heard that we’d started a program years back where people could borrow sand wheelchairs with giant tires at the beach parks. Although we did start the program, the Park Board Beach Parks department runs it now. Basically, if you come to the parks during the season you can use a chair free of charge for the day by leaving an ID at the gate. I put her in touch with Chris Saddler, Park Board Parks Superintendent, who helped her out.
This particular event involved building a number of labyrinths on the sand from seaweed and other materials. My mom was very involved with the original labyrinth that was on Holiday Drive but now resides over at Moody Church. I was familiar with the concept but had never been exposed to the building of temporary labyrinths. What a concept and what a success!
It’s amazing how much can happen when people collaborate as opposed to just working in separate silos. And it seems that there is so much of this type of thing going on right now in Galveston.