Orland Park lifeguards were honored Monday for saving a child's life on May 30. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park lifeguards were honored Monday for saving a child's life on May 30. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park lifeguards lauded for saving child

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By Jeff Vorva

A team of lifeguards were honored at Monday’s Orland Park Village Board meeting after saving the life of a 10-year-old boy at the Centennial Aquatic Center on May 30.

Mayor Keith Pekau said they responded in the proper way and displayed the bravery of cops and soldiers.

“Police officers, much like military members in combat, never really know until shots get fired or there is a combat situation whether someone is going to go towards the fight and do their job or shrink away from it,” the mayor said.

“You all went towards it. I’m extremely proud of you and your parents should be extremely proud of you and you should be proud of yourselves. I know there is a young man and a family that are very, very thankful for what you did.”

Pekau said that the child’s mother shared that her son was back at school the next day, telling other students about his adventure.

The village would not release the last names of the lifeguards nor would allow them to be interviewed. Pekau pointed out that two in particular were key in saving the young man’s life by alerting the pool’s emergency action plan and rescue breathing.

Many others helped the situation by clearing the deck, keeping people away and calling 911, the mayor said.

Pekau said that incidents like this, which happened three days after the opening of the pool for the summer, rarely happen but when they do, he is glad the Orland Park lifeguards are properly trained.

Other members of the board were also appreciative.

“Happiness and fun can quickly turn so very tragic,” Trustee Sean Kampas said. “This is precisely why you train the way you do. Thank you for your vigilance, dedication and decisive execution.

“The ability to quickly assess and react in the face of danger is uncommon.”

Trustee William Healy said that their jobs are important to the community.

“Lifeguards receive a paycheck, but they don’t do it for the pay,” Healy said. “There is more to this job than other jobs in the summer. The paycheck is what it is, but there is a commitment to society and to the village. We couldn’t be more proud of them. This is a great start for them and a long career in public service I hope.”

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