FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vicki Cech, Lifesaver Award Winner, 231-206-1185
Dave Benjamin, Executive Director of Public Relations, 708-903-0166
Bob Pratt, Executive Director of Education, 517-643-2553
Grand Haven’s Vicki Cech to Receive National Lifesaver Award
Fundraiser for travel costs to accept award.
GREAT LAKES, USA – Vicki Cech has won a 2014 “Community Lifesaver of the Year” award presented by the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA).
In 2003 Cech’s son, Andy Fox, drowned in a rip current in Grand Haven, MI. This personal tragedy inspired her to educate her community on the dangers of Lake Michigan.
In 2004 she started the Beach Survival Challenge, a competition inspired by the popular CBS reality show “Survivor,” in which contestants participate in various games on the beach while learning about water safety and rip currents.
“I feel like a regular person doing with I have to do,” said Cech. “I hope this national award will bring even more attention to water safety. I want there to be more awareness and people to know that drowning can happen to anyone.”
“Vicki has turned tragedy into triumph,” said Bob Pratt, executive director of the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP). “She has been a tireless crusader for drowning prevention since the death of her son.”
“Her Survival Challenge has taught thousands of participants valuable safety messages that have directly resulted in lives saved,” Pratt added. “Her willingness to go anywhere and talk to everyone regarding drowning prevention makes her the face and the voice of drowning prevention in the Great Lakes region.”
A fundraiser has been established to cover the travel and lodging costs for Vickie to attend the NDPA’s annual conference in Orlando, Florida and accept the award March 19-21. Any additional funds received will be applied to operational and administrative costs for the Vickie’s annual Beach Survival Challenge. To donate, visit: http://www.crowdrise.com/vickiecechlifesaveroftheyear/fundraiser/davebenjamin
CECH ON THE STEVE HARVEY SHOW
Watch Vicki’s story told on a 2014 Steve Harvey Show Episode. Cech was featured on the nationally-syndicated Steve Harvey Show Jan. 14 for her water safety efforts that have become her life-saving mission along the lakeshore after her son’s drowning.
In the episode, TV handyman Carter Oosterhouse along with volunteers from the Steve Harvey Show and Lake Michigan Credit Union, surprised Cech with a new playground at the Grand Haven State Park beach. The playground, which features the color-coded flag system for swimming, is dedicated to Cech’s son.
Vicky was also honored as a Harvey’s Hero during the episode.
The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, Inc. (GLSRP) is about saving lives. It is a nonprofit corporation that is a Chapter of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA). It tracks the Great Lakes drowning statistics, teaches “Great Lakes Water Safety” classes, is a rip Current Awareness Campaign, hosts Surf Lifeguard Certification courses, and works with family and friends of Great Lakes drowning victims to promote water safety.
The GLSRP presented at the NDPA’s 12th Annual Symposium, March 14, 2013, in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. It presented at the 2nd International Rip Current Symposium Nov. 1st, 2012 in Sydney, Australia; the 2012 winner of the “Outstanding Service to the Great Lakes Community” award presented by the Dairyland Surf Classic; the 2011 “Lifesaver of the Year” award winner; and presented at the NDPA’s 11th Annual Symposium in San Diego, March 9, 2012.
SAFETY TIPS – What everyone should know before they put their toes on the beach:
- When in doubt, don’t go out!
- Know the 1-10-1 Rule of Hypothermia (especially in fall, winter, and spring)
- Know the Signs of Drowning
- Know the “Flip, Float, and Follow” Rip Current Survival Strategy
- GLSRP Water Safety Illustrations
- Know the Great Lakes Dangerous Currents
- Drowning Terms to Discontinue
- GLSRP Drowning Statistics