top of page

2012 Surf Festival Dinner Honorees


2012 Medal of Valor Honorees


Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Cassady Roberts

Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Dylan Jones


On Buccaneer weekend, October 1, 2001, at 2245 hours, a call came in from the Isthmus harbor Department reporting that a man had fallen off the crowed floating dock, and had not surfaced.  OLS Roberts responded from the hyperbaric chamber by boat, having just completed the helicopter medivac of another patient.  OLS Jones responded from the Isthmus Station.  Upon arrival, a very large, hysterical, and inebriated crowd said the man had fallen in and had not been seen again, OLS Roberts and Jones tried to clear the crowd and boats from the dock and immediately jumped in and dove to the bottom to search for the victim.  After negative results on the initial search, OLS Roberts’s initiated a second search while on SCUBA.  After returning to the surface from a second negative search, the victim was located in a gap under the float face down.  OLS Roberts and Jones immediately extricated the large, 300 plus pound male, and brought him to the surface.  A Coast Guard inflatable rescue boat showed up on scene and assisted with getting the numerous skiffs away from the rescuers and the victim, while the Sheriff’s were able to clear the float of the many bystanders.  With the assistance of the Coast Guard personnel, Roberts and Jones were able to lift the victim up onto the 4-5 foot float, and then began paramedic treatment.  Despite they’re being soaking wet, with no uniform for warmth, Jones and Roberts continued resuscitative efforts for 20 minutes, and successfully restored a blood pressure.  Prior to the arrival of a helicopter, the patient’s condition deteriorated and he was pronounced dead on scene.


Despite the numerous civilians and boats on scene, no one was capable of effecting this rescue and subsequent resuscitation except the assigned lifeguard paramedics.  Though the initial scene was extremely dangerous and chaotic, OLS Jones and Reverts were able to negotiate the conditions and affect the rescue, at considerable risk to themselves.



2012 Medal of Valor Honoree


Ocean Lifeguard Jeff Little


OL Jeff Little was member of a group of lifeguards unofficially representing the United States Lifesaving Association in Ecuador.  It was February, summertime in the southern hemisphere, during the busy festival of Carnival.  Prior to the lifeguards arrival, three people had already drowned that week due to the large



overhead surf, and the nasty rip current conditions.  OL Little was not surfing with the group one morning, due to a foot injury from a local reef.  While out for a morning swim, OL Little noticed a swimmer inside of the surfline having difficulties.  He assisted the swimmer back to the beach, pushing him to shore. He then saw two other victims further out in a rip current.  One of the victims was in serious trouble, struggling to keep his head above water, while the other was tiring quickly from dog paddling against the current.  Reaching the victims, he stabilized the situation by assisting both men to stay afloat, and though they didn’t speak any English, he was able to calm them down and reassure them.


After attempting to tread water and guide them to shore, OL Little realized the currents were too strong, and that they were all at risk of drowning.  The only solution was to swim back to the shore, but having no fins or rescue can made that nearly impossible.  Improvising a solution, and using hand signals to direct the victims, OL Little had the non-swimming victim grab his foot, and he swam and pulled that man back to shore, as he pushed the dog paddling victim ahead (where he could also keep an eye on his condition).  Once inside the surfline with the victims, OL Little held the men as they were roughly pushed onto the beach, bringing them to the surface between sets to catch their breath.  Over 30 minutes after first spotting them.  OL Little had safely rescued all three victims.  After a few minutes of rest, he went back out and finished his swim.



2012 Distinguished Service Honoree


Lifeguard Captain John Greger


In April 2012, Captain John Greger was checking in for a physical therapy appointment in Torrance.  He noticed several doctors running from the surgery center to the massage therapy office, and John quickly followed.  Entering the office, he observed a 38-year-old male, flat on his back in one of the examination rooms, and one of the doctors was inserting an airway.  Determining that there was no pulse or breathing, Captain Greger asked if they had an automatic external defibrillator (AED).  While one employee ran to get it, another came in with a resuscitator.  Captain Greger hooked up the resuscitator and ambu bag, and while the doctor began rescue breathing, he began chest compressions.  Upon arrival of the AED, John placed the pads on the patient, and initiated the machines analyzation phase.  For several minutes the machine directed that rescue breathing and chest compressions continue, until it finally indicated a “shockable” rhythm.  After delivering the shock, the patients pulse returned, and the patient had a good blood pressure when he was turned over to the Torrance Paramedics.  Three days later, when Captain Greger returned to PT, he was able to meet the patient (the offices x-ray technician), who had just been released from the hospital.  He thanked John, and told him that a change in his blood pressure medication caused a fatal rise in his potassium levels, causing cardiac

arrest.  His doctor said that without immediate defibrillation, and effective CPR, he could not have survived. 



2012 Special Recognition Honoree


Dennis McCarbery


The Surf Festival Dinner gives us a chance to acknowledge the contributions of people who have helped to promote and support the International Surf Festival.  One of those individuals is Dennis McCarbery.


After serving in the United States Navy and working for newspapers in Glendale and Palos Verdes, Dennis went to work for the South Bay Daily Breeze as first a reporter/photographer and then as an Assistant City Editor.


In 1970 he went to work for the Department of Beaches as the Public Information Officer.  As the PIO with the Department of Beaches, Dennis was instrumental in helping to promote the Los Angeles County Lifeguards and the International Surf Festival.  He became the editor/publisher of two magazines, which put professional lifeguards in the best possible light and helped to make people aware of the contributions lifeguards made to public safety.  The two publications were the “County Lifeguard” magazine and the “U. S. Lifesaving Association” magazine.  As a result of his work in developing these magazines, Dennis developed a great understanding and respect for the job the lifeguards performed on a daily basis and became involved in all aspects of lifeguarding.  That involvement led to his work with the Santa Monica National Lifeguard Championships, the Malibu Festival, and the International Surf Festival.


In 1978 Denis became the executive Director of the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce.  It was in this capacity that Dennis created the idea of the Medal of Valor for Lifeguards and combined the awarding of the Medal with the kick off dinner for the International Surf Festival.  The idea resonated with the Los Angeles County Beach Lifeguards, the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce, and the cities in the South Bay who not only support the International Surf Festival but also rely on the professional lifeguards to keep the beaches safe.  The Medal of Valor was first awarded in 1981.  It was designed to give recognition to Los Angeles County Lifeguards for acts of heroism in the line of duty.  The bronze medal features a running lifeguard caring a rescue buoy.  Tonight is the 32nd awarding of the Medal of Valor.


Continuing in the area of public relations, Dennis when on to work for the Asian-Pacific Group, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Joan Flores, the Southern California Associations of Governments, and finally the Port of Los Angeles.  After thirteen years with the Port of Los Angeles, Dennis retired in 2003.  Before retiring and certainly since retiring, Dennis has devoted himself to leading and making significant contributions to a wide variety of community groups.  From our standpoint, none of the contributions are more important than those he made to the lifeguards and the International Surf Festival.



2012 Special Recognition Honoree


Jim Graham


Jim started his lifeguarding career in 1959 when he joined the Santa Monica Beach Lifeguards.  In 1962 he took the Los Angeles County Test and worked as a recurrent lifeguard from Zuma to Santa Monica to Hermosa until his retirement in 1984


Jim was an outstanding competitor.  He was both a paddler and a doryman.  He competed in the Taplin numerous times, the most memorable being with Santa Monica in 1959 where they finished second to L. A. County and then with the winning Zuma Team in 1962 and the winning Junior lifeguard Team in 1966.


Jim also participated in the 1960 Catalina to Manhattan Beach Paddleboard Race and was a member of the Santa Monica Lifeguard Outrigger Canoe Team that participated in the Molokai Channel Race in Hawaii.


In 1963 Jim began working the Junior Lifeguard Program for a portion of his summer work with the County.  He continued to fill that role with very successful programs at Zuma, at Hermosa, at Santa Monica and Avenue C.


He was also on board for the initial community outreach program for “inner city” kids and in the summer of 1971 created “A Program for Girls” in-as-much as girls were precluded from participating in the all boys Junior Lifeguard Program at the time.  Two years later that changed.


In the summer of 1967, during the International Surf Festival, Jim was asked to fill in for Captain Dwight Crum as the announcer for the nighttime Taplin and Intracrew events.  He never gave the mike back to Dwight and was honored to work the Surf Festival until 1983.


In 1978 Jim was hired by the City of Redondo Beach as the Marketing and Promotions Director for the Harbor Enterprise.  While working for Redondo, he participated as a member of the International Surf Festival Committee and was instrumental in developing two critically important aspects regarding the Festival.  First, in 1978 he developed and found sponsorship for the International Surf Festival Kickoff Dinner.  Second, along with Dennis McCarbery, he helped to promote the idea of a Lifeguard Medal of Valor Award to be part of the ISF dinner.  Jim served as Master of Ceremonies for this event until 1983 when Dick Douglas became the new MC.  Jim resigned his position on the ISF Committee in 1994 when he retired from his position with the City of Redondo.



2012 Lifetime Achievement Honoree


Dave Story


Dave Story began his lifesaving career in 1970 and was assigned to Zuma Beach.  The following year Dave was transferred to the Southern Section where he worked Marine Street and El Porto


As a Recurrent Lifeguard Dave became the first Recurrent Representative to the National Surf Lifesaving Association.  When the NSLSA reorganized to form the United States Lifesaving Association in 1980 Dave was elected as that groups first Treasurer.  While serving as the Southern Section Ocean Lifeguard representative to the Los Angeles County Lifeguard Association (LACOLA) Dave worked with Tom Viren to negotiate the first labor contract for Los Angeles County Ocean Lifeguards.


Dave achieved a full time position with the lifeguards in 1979 and was assigned to Dockweiler State Beach.  Dave joined the Department’s Underwater Rescue and Recovery Unit and as a member of the Marine Mammal Rescue Team was instrumental in cutting a free-swimming grey whale loose from lobster trap lines that had entangled it.


As a permanent lifeguard Dave continued to serve on the LACOLA labor contract negotiation teams.  He served for 6-years as the associations Vice-President and in 1984 was elected LACOLA President.  For several years Dave also organized the LACOLA Blood Drive for the Southern Section.


In 1990 Dave was asked to temporarily transfer to Lifeguard Division where he co-wrote the Lifeguard Scheduling and Timekeeping program with Tom Viren.  The Program was in use for nearly two decades and was one of the first programs of its type in the County.


Dave was promoted to Captain in 1992, served as the Headquarters Scheduling Officer in the Central then Southern Sections and as the Administrative Captain in Lifegaurd Division.  In 2001 Dave was promoted to Section Chief and was placed in charge of the Southern Section lifeguards.  Retiring in 2006 Dave continues to find himself involved with the lifeguards.  He hosts the annual Lifeguard Alumni Association Luncheon and still serves as the Treasurer of the LACOLA Trust Fund.  In 2004 Dave became the Event Coordinator for the International Surf Festival and is the current Treasurer for that organization.

2012 Roberts, Jones
2012 Little
2012 Greger
2012 McCarbery
2012 Graham
2012 Story
bottom of page