YWCA of Tulsa
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Saving Lives Post-Retirement

Jul 25, 2016
Entry by Elyse Urbonas
Staff Writer
 
I sat down with Richard Ridgeway to talk about his experience as a lifeguard for YWCA at our East location. Richard has been with us for six years! He had retired for about 6 months until he decided he wanted to remain active in the community.
 
When asked why he chose to lifeguard at YWCA for the last six years, he responded, “I enjoy coming down and talking to people. It’s like talking to friends because a lot of them are my age.” He also said that his favorite part of lifeguarding is teaching classes, but he doesn’t so much enjoy sitting in the heat during the middle of summer.
 
When lifeguarding, it is very important to be aware what is going on in the pool. When asked about pool safety and what to watch out for, Richard gave two examples.
“One time we had a toy, a plastic pitcher and it filled up with water. A child decided to stick his foot in it and it started pulling him under.” 
 
It is important to keep an eye out when being in or around a pool, lake, ocean or any other body of water. The main thing is to watch for anything unusual and be aware of what is going on around you.
 
“Another incident happened one Saturday morning while I was lifeguarding. There was a grandmother and a 3 year old,” Richard said. “She took the vest off the child because they were getting ready to leave. As they were leaving, the little girl walked over to the edge of the pool and it looked like she was getting ready to jump — and she did. I yelled from the other side of the pool. But then I jumped in, and when I looked down at her and I saw her eyes looking up at me in terror as I pulled her up.” 
 
Richard will have been retired for seven years this August. I asked Richard where he sees himself in the future. “I see myself lifeguarding depending on my health. If 5 years from now I am still healthy, then yes I will still lifeguard.”
 
Richard loves working for YWCA. “It’s a very good place for seniors. I see a lot of seniors unable to do things. I would like to see older members be able to do things at 70 that they did at 40. I hope for seniors to get involved with YWCA Tulsa because it would be a good start to staying healthy” Richard said. 
 
To learn more about YWCA aquatics and to see class schedules, visit the links below:
 
East: 
https://www.ywcatulsa.org/caffeine/uploads/files/EastFitnessSchedule_6_1_16.pdf
 
Midtown:
https://www.ywcatulsa.org/caffeine/uploads/files/MidtownAquaticSchedule_summer_6_2_16.pdf
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