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by Nancy Thomas, publisher
On a picture perfect day, the sound of flip-flops and squeals came back to this beautiful community pool, the Fairlawn Veterans Park and Pool in Pawtucket. For weeks there was no sound at this pool, except for gently lapping water on a breezy day. Padlocks secured the facility.
When it was determined that hiring lifeguards the traditional way was going to be a thankless – and unsuccessful – task – even with a local charity offering to supplement the small salary – the local fire and police department went into action. They would become lifeguards. Over 40 hours of instruction supplemented and certified skills most already had such as CPR training, but swimming 12 lengths at one stretch was part of their test and eyebrows were raised remembering how hard that actually was to perfect.
In a matter of a few weeks 4 members of the Pawtucket Police Department – 2 men and 2 women – had become certified. As many as 6 members of the Pawtucket Fire Department joined them. Some young people came onboard as pool aides. And Sgt. Cioe recruited his son as a lifeguard, too.
One woman who had called to find out when the pool would open learned they needed help so bad that she jumped in to help and now works at the pool four days a week taking the $1 per person admission. Renee had a smile from ear to ear as she directed people to the pool – you could sense her pride in the role she had in being part of the pool’s opening.
The Pawtucket Pool will now be open Monday through Friday, noon to 6 and Saturday and Sunday 11 to 6 (more details here: https://rinewstoday.com/it-took-a-village-pawtuckets-police-fire-public-safety-parks-recs-staff-work-together-to-open-city-pool/)
Photos Top of page:
left: Pawtucket Fire Department lifeguards take their chairs
middle: Barbara Roche & her son, Lucca
right: shade finding family of 3 settle in for the day
The McDermott Pool in Warwick opens on Monday – RINewsToday plans to cover the opening as part of our continuing series on public pools in metropolitan cities.