Have Your Say – A Shout-Out to the Lifesaving Work of Lifeguards  

When not lifeguarding, Gerard Cavaluzzi is general counsel for Kennedy Jenks Consultants.

I just read the September 2020 edition of River Journal, and I am quite disappointed in the characterization that was implied relating to lifeguarding in the article on page 2 [Journal Entries]. 

I  think it is great that a Cortlandt teen worked as an intern at [NewYork-Presbyterian] hospital.  

Lifeguards also rose to the occasion this summer, and also functioned in a critical role as essential workers. We staffed the beaches and pools in a safe and healthy manner, allowing residents to enjoy the summer at a time when recreation was sorely needed.  

I have worked for more than 30 years as a lifeguard and have been proud to mentor many teens who have continued to use their skills responsibly throughout their careers.  

I urge you in the next edition to highlight one of our lifeguards.  

I hope that you reflect on this feedback and consider it.  

Thank you.
Gerard Cavaluzzi
Senior Lifeguard Supervisor, Oakland Beach (Rye) 

We hear you, Gerard, and are happy to publicly thank your profession by highlighting you here. Keep up the great work.—Ed.    




  1. Wonderful highlight for a lifesaver. That is a fabulous idea and would be an interesting read. Thank you Lifeguard Gerard Cavaluzzi👍🏻

  2. This letter from Mr Cavaluzzi is highly offensive. Lifeguards are not “critical essential workers.” You know who was a critical essential worker? My sister. She was an ER nurse who passed away this year from complications form COVID. While recreation is important, it’s people thinking it’s so esssential that to be outdoors that keeps this virus still spreading. Shame on you Cavaluzi for trying to claim to be an essential worker and shame on RJ for printing this as if lifeguards are essential as frontline workers who literally put their lives on the line. Like my late sister.

    1. Mr. Williams

      I delayed responding out of respect. However, please know that I chose my words carefully. Yes we are considered to be essential workers and the critical role I referenced is that as first responders, in fact, we perform water rescues and provide immediate first aid to save lives of others.

      I am responding now since I think the woman whose life I saved last weekend (while I risked my own in the process of performing the water rescue) may disagree with your statements. It’s a responsibility and commitment that I take very seriously and I do not seek any praise. My heart and soul goes out to you on the loss of your sister. I am truly sorry as I did not meant to be offensive at all. My prayers are for you and your family.

  3. A terrible reminder of what may appear to some to be a care-free job.


    “This is a tragic and heartbreaking day for our town and the entire Jersey Shore,” said Berkeley Mayor Carmen F. Amato. “This young person was out there everyday protecting the lives of others. Our lifeguard teams, like so many along the Shore, develop special connections with our community throughout the summer, which makes this loss even greater. On behalf of myself and our entire community, I offer our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of this young man.”

    Prayers for all affected by this tragedy.

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