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1981 Surf Festival Dinner Honorees
1981 Medal of Valor Honoree


Lieutenant Ocean Lifeguard Sonny Vardeman


The Medal of Valor gives recognition to Los Angeles County Lifeguards for acts of heroism in the line of duty.  The program is sponsored by the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce and was first awarded in 1981.  It serves as a signal to lifeguards that the public recognizes and appreciates the tremendous efforts they undertake.  The bronze medal features a running lifeguard carrying a lifeguard rescue can and is presented to the award winner.


Sonny Vardeman became the first Medal of Valor recipient for his heroic rescue in 1981 when a small, private plane crashed into the surfline off Avenue C in Redondo Beach.  Vardeman swam out to the plane, climbed into the cockpit to rescue the pilot.  When Vardeman made his way into the plane, he found the unconscious pilot hanging upside down in the front seat.  Vardeman then resuscitated the pilot while cutting him free with a knife.  He then pulled the victim to safety, and swam him safely to shore.  The pilot was treated for his lacerations and made a full recovery.



1981 Medal of Valor Honoree


Ocean Lifeguard Kip Jerger


Kip Jerger received the Medal of Valor in 1981 for his amazing rescue at White's Point in San Pedro.  While lifeguarding, Jerger saw a fisherman washed into the ocean by a large wave.  Jerger immediately responded to the scene, ran across the rocks and discovered that the fully clothed fisherman was no longer visible.  Jerger immediately dove into the wintry water in the area that he had last seen the fisherman in an attempt find him.  Jerger dived into the water three separate times with no success.  On the fourth attempt, he found the fisherman trapped in an underwater cave.  Jerger calmed the fisherman down and then pulled him back underwater and swam out of the cave to safety.  

1981 Vardeman
1981 Jerger
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