By now, many of you have heard bits and pieces about the surf rescue on February 18. Well, this dramatic rescue has drawn the attention of rescuers nation wide. On June 3rd , FF Elizabeth Leahy, FF/Medic Beth Goudreau, FF/Medic Jonathan Baxter, and FF Jason Woo of our surf rescue unit, were presented with the “Valor Award” for their role in saving the lives of 2 victims of a capsized boat. In addition, their story of heroism is expected to be published in the September issue of Firehouse Magazine. Their story goes like this. On Wednesday, February 18, while the Bay Area was getting pelted by a winter storm, units were dispatched to Ocean Beach for the surf rescue, capsized boat, with 3 victims in the water. When the surf rescue unit, staffed by Captain Ed Liggins, FF Elizabeth Leahy, FF/Medic Beth Goudreau and FF Jason Woo, arrived on scene, they were already suited up and ready to go. They were confronted with 45 mph winds and major swells. Neither the Park Service (who staffs lifeguards only from June to October), nor the Coast Guard was on the scene. Bystanders were pointing toward 3 victims in the water, about 150 yards out. The 4 rescue swimmers grabbed the buoys and headed for the water. Lt. Kevin Hickey, who spotted 2 of the victims in the water, called for FF Leahy and FF/Medic Goudreau, pointing to the exact location. FF Leahy, with FF/Medic Goudreau right behind her, ran down the beach and chose a spot to enter the surf. It turned out to be the right choice, for after fighting the surf to get in, they found themselves face to face with 2 of the 3 victims, both still conscience, but fighting to tread water. Although there is a surf rescue rule mandating 2 rescue swimmers per victim, they had no other choice. FF Leahy and FF/Medic Goudreau threw buoys around both victims, and proceeded to drag them to shore, where medic units were standing by to begin treating the victims. To FF Leahy, FF/Medic Goudreau, and all those who assisted in this successful rescue, nicely done! This is what being a hero is all about.


Main Menu