GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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October 9, 2012

Rockport recognizes teen beach rescuers

ROCKPORT — Two Rockport lifeguards rescued swimmers from drowning this summer, saving lives at Front Beach and Old Garden Beach. And now, town leaders have officially extended their thanks.

Rockport Police Sgt. Timothy Frithsen, who oversees the Red Cross certified Rockport lifeguards, said the lifeguards, Erin Pratt and Jacob Ward, demonstrated “heroic efforts in saving two lives” this summer.

“It’s very rare that you get to see so many saved,”said Frithsen, “It is very much something to be proud of.”

The town recognized the two at a recent selectmen’s meeting, presenting the lifeguards with plaques and recognizing them for their service.

For Pratt, the honor marked her second time receiving an award for saving a life. The Rockport High School senior had also rescued a swimmer last summer when working as a lifeguard in Gloucester.

The Red Cross hailed Pratt as a youth hero this past March for last summer’s rescue. In that case, Pratt had noticed a woman in distress at Good Harbor Beach, while working as a lifeguard at a nearby pool last year. She ran across the street, entered the water and pulled the woman — who was crying for help — back to shore. She then noticed two children on a boogie board who were also struggling against the riptide, swam back out — and pulled them to safety, as well.

This past summer, having switched to lifeguarding at Old Garden Beach, Pratt saw a diver in distress floundering and gasping for air, according to Frithsen. Pratt grabbed her rescue board, then swam out and plucked the diver out of the water. Pratt radioed police on land and requested an ambulance for the diver who was transported to the hospital because of continued difficulty breathing after being pulled from the water, according to Frithsen.

Rockporter Jacob Ward, meanwhile, performed his own rescue at Front Beach less than a week after a man died in the same waters.

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