Ocean Rescue Unit says thank you to their founding ‘MOM’

Ocean Rescue shows their appreciation for their former boss, Cultural and Human Services Director Susan Simpson (center). (Photo by Dan Varone)
Ocean Rescue shows their appreciation for their former boss, Cultural and Human Services Director Susan Simpson (center). (Photo by Dan Varone)

On March 4, 2012, the official transition of the Ocean Rescue/Lifeguard Program took place. As a part of a Reorganization Plan by City Manager Alan Cohen and with the approval of the City Commission, the Ocean Rescue program has been placed with the Police Department, under the umbrella of “Public Safety” for Sunny Isles Beach. That was the easy part! Why?

For the past 9-10 years, this extremely professional group of men and women, under the incredible dedication of Mrs. Susan Simpson and Ocean Rescue Manager Justin Broman, has become one of the best known and most respectable Ocean Rescue programs in Southeast Florida.

The only word to describe the number of lives they have saved, the number of near fatalities they have rescued and the number of disasters they have prevented, is COUNTLESS! From lost little ones of under 2-3 years of age, to pulling bathers from devastatingly dangerous riptides and currents, they have been an impact on the safety and well being of this community since day one! So assuming the responsibility of a well oiled, efficient and professionally operating machine, is not a difficult transition. What is the hard part? Watching 25-30 young men try and express their feelings, emotions, gratitude and even love, for the “one person” they all called “MOM” who was in effect their leader and the head of their “household.” They are a family and have developed the characteristics of a family over the past ten years so it was tough to break away from that person or persons who have “BUILT the Program from the Ground Up.” That is exactly what has happened.

Gone are the days of a couple of guys who worked out of the Newport Hotel with limited towers for visibility to the well planned future of this program that will BEST serve this community for years to come.

Therefore, with an opportunity for ALL to gather together, the Ocean Rescue Unit took advantage of the meeting to recognize and thank their “MOM,” their “LEADER,” their “MENTOR” for all she has done for them over the past 10 years. They did so by presenting her with a beautiful BRONZE EAGLE, symbolic of her strength and watchful eye over them, inscribed with words of deepest appreciation. Followed by a thunderous round of applause, I believe we even saw a slight tear in her eye and she came to realize how much she was loved and appreciated by all!

For the police department, we are proud to announce that as a part of our continued dedication to the community policing and safety of our city, Sgt. Lee Athanasiou will assume the job of working with Ocean Rescue Manager Justin Broman and supervisors alike, to continue to bring the absolute BEST Quality and Service to our Community and Beaches!

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