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1994 Surf Festival Dinner Honorees



1994 Medal of Valor Honorees


Rescue Boat Captain Bill Robinson


On December 2, 1993 at 7:30 am Zuma Beach Lifeguard Headquarters received a 911 call from a resident of Carbon Canyon that a kayaker had lost his kayak and was in the water a quarter mile off shore. Winter surf and 40-50 miles per hour Santa Ana winds were pounding the area.


Bill Robinson was dispatched to the scene and spoke to the resident. The victim had gone into the water without a wetsuit. The kayak had been capsized and then blown away, cart wheeling out to sea. Bill used binoculars to scan the incredibly choppy waters and located the victim cling to a lobster trap buoy about a quarter mile from shore.


Bill put on his wetsuit, grabbed the paddleboard off the lifeguard rescue vehicle and headed out through the 58-degree water, high surf and chop, and incredibly high winds. The second he got in the water he knew that this situation would require all his skills as a beach lifeguard.


He was able to locate the victim who was suffering from severe hypothermia. He put a rescue tube around him and pulled him onto the board. At that point Bill figured he could not get back in with this victim on the board. The conditions appeared simply too hazardous. He contemplated being blown to the isthmus at Catalina or trying to cut across the wind diagonally toward Torrance and Palos Verdes.


He quickly realized, however that the victim could not survive that long in the water. He told him that he would have to help paddle if he was to survive this ordeal. Although his help was limited, it added to the tremendous skills Bill possesses and they were able to make it back to the beach. Although the victim collapsed on the beach the emergency medical treatment he immediately received and the efforts of bell Robinson saved his life.


1994 Lifetime Achievment Honoree


Assistant Director Department of Beaches Dwight Crum


Dwight Crum is the recipient of the 1994 Los Angeles County Lifeguard Achievement award. The phrase used to describe Dwight Crum is “A Lifeguard’s Lifeguard”. Dwight started his career as a recurrent lifeguard in 1941. After graduating from the University of Southern California, Dwight joined the Navy an served as a Lieutenant JG aboard a minesweeper in the South Pacific. After discharge from the Navy, Dwight took a permanent position with the Los Angeles County Lifeguards. He then rose quickly to become the youngest person appointed Lieutenant in the departments history.

In 1953 Dwight was promoted to Southern Section Captain. He had a vision of the possible future for the lifeguard profession, and with his education, he had the necessary tools to accomplish those ends. His love for lifeguarding kept him on the sand for his entire life. Dwight helped promote the lifeguard service in the South Bay and he expands the role of the beach lifeguard through training and a “can do” attitude. Under his watch, a 24 hour lifeguard crew was established at the Hermosa Headquarters. Lifeguards were not only responsible for responding to emergencies on the beach, but they were also responsible for responding to medical emergencies in homes and highway accidents with the South Bay cities.

Surfing had become the newest rage in Southern California and the problems of surfers intermingling with swimmers created a serious hazard. Dwight came up with the concept of safe zoning areas for swimmers, and the “Black Ball Flag” system was established. This system is not only still in use on the Los Angeles County beaches, but it was initiated throughout California and subsequently internationally.

Under Dwight’s leadership, the Los Angeles County Lifeguards became one of the first organizations in the country to adopt CPR on all emergencies relating to resuscitation, and lifeguards were successful saving lives with CPR as a result of this change.

In 1962 Dwight became the first “Chairman” of the International Surf Festival. This South Bay community event helps showcase lifeguard skills through lifeguard competition and promotes physical fitness in the community. This beach festival has been a huge success for over 50 years and is still going strong. The very popular “Pier to Pier Swim” was renamed in his honor when he retired in 1971.

In May of 1969, the Department of Beaches was created by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Dwight was promoted to the position of Assistant Director when the Department of Beaches was formed. In this assignment, Dwight led the merger of the Santa Monica Lifeguards and the Los Angeles City Lifeguards into the Los Angeles County Lifeguards. Dwight never lost sight of his love for lifeguarding and he relished the opportunity join the other lifeguards in making ocean rescues right up to the day of his retirement and beyond. 



1994 Dwight Crum
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