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The Lifeguard Medal of Valor gives recognition to Los Angeles County Ocean Lifeguards for acts of heroism. The program is sponsored by the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce and was first awarded in 1981. It serves as a signal to the lifeguards that the public recognizes and appreciates the tremendous efforts they undertake. The bronze medal features a running lifeguard carrying a rescue can (buoy) and is presented to the honorees at the kickoff dinner prior to the annual International Surf Festival.


For a complete list of prior honorees please use the link above.  Regiatration and contact information is also available above for those wanting to attend the event.

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Scott Davey
Event Coordinator

2024 Surf Festival Dinner Honorees

2024 Medal of Valor Honorees

Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Max Malamed

Ocean Lifeguard Ryan Aronson


Max Malamed

On July 4, 2023, at the Venice Pier, OLS Malamed and OL Aronson performed a dangerous night rescue. Working through a chaotic and crowded Holiday scene of over 2000 beach celebrants, OLS Malamed and OL Aronson performed an extremely difficult Pier Jump into large surf, rescuing a fully clothed adult woman, experiencing a psychiatric emergency.  Because of the hazardous, complicated and arduous aspect of this rescue, OLS Malamed and OL Aronson are recognized with the Medal of Valor. 

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Ryan Aronson

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Venice Pier

2024 Distinguished Service Award

Paramedic Rescue Boat Captain Brian Kari

Paramedic Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Sean Kennedy

Avalon City Fire Department

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On December 18, 2023, in Avalon, on Catalina Island, Paramedic Rescue Boat Captain Brian Kari and Paramedic Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Sean Kennedy responded to a young female giving birth.  Upon arrival, the baby was cold, dark blue and still attached to the umbilical cord. After aggressive and successful treatment by Captain Kari, OLS Kennedy, and the Avalon City Fire Department, both the baby and mother were stabilized enough to transport.  With both patients, still in critical condition, two ALS helicopters, Air Mercy and LA County Fire were required to safely move to a mainland NICU.

Avalon City Fire Department, Catalina Island


City of Avalon, Catalina Island

2024 Lifeguard Lifetime Achievement Honoree

Captain Ocean Lifeguard Jim Jacobson - Retired


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Jim Jacobson

Captain Jacobson began his career in 1971 and retired in 2008, after 37 years of dedicated service to Los Angeles County.  Known as a “lifeguards’ lifeguard” Captain Jacobson worked on every beach within Los Angeles County, from Malibu to San Pedro and is known as one of the most inspirational lifeguard mentors the Department has ever had.  He was an All-American swimmer, a three-time National Champion in the surf dory’s, 12-time Taplin Champion, Training Academy Instructor, LACOLA Representative.  Since retiring, he continues to advise, mentor and inspire both lifeguards and his Malibu community.

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Ocean Lifeguard Captain Jim Jacobson

ISF President Rob McGowan (far right) presenting King Harbor Yacht Club representatives Kelly McMartin and Bill Harkins with the festivals thanks for all the yacht clubs assistance in hosting the 2022 Lifeguard Medal of Valor Awards.

International Surf Festival

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