Mayor Chris Beutler today presented the Mayor's Award of Excellence for November to a team of Ballard Pool lifeguards from the Parks and Recreation Aquatics Division. The team includes seasonal employees Harmony Jones, Amanda Laurenceau, Molly Shields, and Dylan Woldt. The monthly award recognizes City employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the City. The award was presented at the beginning of today's City Council meeting.
The average age of the team members is only 23. Assistant Recreation Manager Holly Lewis nominated the team in the categories of customer relations and valor after she received an email from Darrell Fisher. Fisher had contacted the Mayor's office to praise the response of the lifeguards to a motor vehicle crash near Ballard Pool.
About 5 p.m. July 11, Fisher came upon a two-vehicle crash at North 66th Street and Logan, just southwest of Ballard Pool. He saw one vehicle was partially blocking a lane of North 66th Street, and he saw several young lifeguards running to the scene from the pool. After he parked his car, he approached the scene to help with first aid. He wrote:
"My assistance was not necessary; the several lifeguards had the situation well in hand, even though this crash resulted in multiple victims, seven in all, including young children. These young stalwarts immediately took charge of the scene, rendering first aid and administering to the care and comfort of those victims requiring attention, stabilizing the most seriously injured, and safeguarding the scene until Lincoln Fire and Rescue and Lincoln Police arrived to take charge."
Once the first responders arrived, Mr. Fischer said the lifeguards went back to work at the pool so quickly he did not catch their names or get to thank them. He said we often hear that our young people think only of themselves and are not committed to serve. At the accident scene, he said he saw everything to the contrary. He wrote: "These scenes are very chaotic, yet these young lifeguards demonstrated a calm and maturity well beyond their years!"
Mr. Fisher was in law enforcement for more than 30 years, but said he could not have handled the scene any better. He wrote: "I was thoroughly impressed with their command presence and their ability to control and take charge of this hectic scene. In my humble opinion, they represented the City of Lincoln in the finest tradition and should receive the Mayor's Award of Excellence."
In addition to recognizing Jones, Laurenceau, Shields and Woldt, Lewis also praised the rest of the Ballard staff who stayed where they were assigned and continued to follow all safety measures. They include Helen Creger, Kara Guittar, Jay Hongsermeier and Pat Zierke.
The other categories in which employees can be nominated are loss prevention, safety and productivity. Consideration also may be given to nominations that demonstrate self-initiated accomplishments or those completed outside of the nominee's job description. All City employees are eligible for the Mayor's Award of Excellence except for elected and appointed officials. Individuals or teams can be nominated by supervisors, peers, subordinates and the general public. Nomination forms are available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: personnel) or from department heads, employee bulletin boards or the Personnel Department, which oversees the awards program.
All nominations are considered by the Mayor's Award of Excellence Committee, which includes a representative with each union and a non-union representative appointed by the Mayor. Award winners receive a $50 gift certificate, a day off with pay and a plaque. Because the November winners are seasonal employees, they will not receive a day off with pay. All monthly winners and nominees are eligible to receive the annual award, which comes with a $250 gift certificate, two days off with pay and a plaque.