Story and photo by Walt Johnson
Soldiers have a long standing tradition of doing whatever is necessary for the defense of their country. At the Mountain Post, 14 Soldiers are showing that the commitment to duty does not stop at the battlefield.
Currently, the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, is training the Soldiers to become lifeguards at the post outdoor pool this summer, so the current lifeguards can be used at another needed location, according to Don Armes, Fort Carson aquatics director.
“We are holding these classes to provide the volunteer Soldiers the training they need to make sure we are providing a safe and secure facility for our patrons that utilize the facility. We got the volunteer Soldiers from the units, and I think we got some of the best Soldiers the post has to offer to support us,” Armes said.
Armes said when it was necessary to find Soldiers to fill in as lifeguards in order to support the outdoor pool’s mission, the senior leadership at the Mountain Post took the lead in finding quality Soldiers to help fill the void. He said Rick Garcia, DFMWR supervisor, also played a huge role in supporting everything he needed to get the program off the ground.
“Jeff (Sever, instructor trainer at the pool) and
I have been very impressed with the Soldiers and the way they have taken to the training and their willingness to learn to be good lifeguards. They have been through a 36-hour training program over six days, and they have learned their skills at lifeguarding quickly. Their attitudes have been amazing. We are very proud of what these 14 guys have brought, and we will be very happy with what they bring to the outdoor swimming pool,” Armes said.
He said his current lifeguards are going to support other DFMWR activities that need staffing and he will miss the professionalism and customer service his crew gave the post community. Armes said he is not concerned that customer service will suffer, as the training the Soldiers are getting includes customer service principles.
“The lifeguards we have now are being deployed to work in other areas where we also have a great need for them. They are being moved to other programs within the recreation division. With the hiring freeze that is on now it is so important for us to be able to get these Soldiers to assist and help us carry out our mission.”
“We had a customer service class for the Soldiers that is being taught by … Debbie MacSwain from the American Red Cross so that our Soldiers understand the process of being a lifeguard and how to be customer-service oriented. Darla Hanson did a lot of the water training and physical training for the Soldiers, and that was a tremendous part of getting them ready for the mission,” Armes said.