At Ages 77 and 78, OCBP Alums Head for National Lifeguard Competition

first_imgOcean City Beach Patrol alums Tom Heist III and Bill Pugh Sr. will compete in the USLA National Lifeguard championships Aug. 6 to 9 in Virginia Beach, Va.Lifeguards leave the beach, but the beach never really leaves lifeguards.A pair of former Ocean City Beach Patrol members, Thomas Heist III and Bill Pugh Sr., are heading to Virginia Beach on Wednesday to compete in the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) National Lifeguard Championships.Tom Heist III in September 1955 working the beach at First Street.At ages 78 and 77, Heist and Pugh may be the oldest competitors. But they won’t be alone in 70-and-over competition. In the doubles row, they’ll be trying to knock off defending champions Joe Schmitt (who retired in 2011 after 55 years on OCBP) and Jack Devine (a North Wildwood Beach Patrol alum and author of a new memoir on his career with the CIA).Phil Rogers of Cape May and a partner from California also will compete in the category, along with surf-boat crews from throughout the nation.They’ll join a host of other retired lifeguards of all ages from Ocean City, the Jersey Shore and the rest of the nation in competing in the USLA Nationals and reliving their glory days in rowing, swimming, running and paddleboarding competitions.Heist worked the patrol from 1954 to 1956 and was one of the patrol’s top rowers before retiring as a lieutenant. Pugh worked from 1956 to 1959.Pugh went on to become a partner in a law firm in Montgomery County, Pa. Heist would build one of Ocean City’s most successful insurance agencies.But the pair says memories of their days on the beach are some of their fondest.“It’s a real privilege, and they should respect it, because later in life, they’ll realize it was the best job they ever had,” Pugh says of the current OCBP guards working the beach.Heist and Pugh have been practicing in a traditional Van Duyne surfboat in the bay since May. They’ll travel to Virginia Beach on Wednesday and compete in their only event, the doubles row, on Thursday.See more information on the USLA National Lifeguard Championships.__________Sign up for OCNJ Daily’s free newsletter and breaking news alerts“Like” us on Facebooklast_img read more

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