Grandma becomes lifeguard to keep pool open

At 66 years old, Gail Rodgers became a lifeguard to help keep the pool open.
Published: Jun. 20, 2023 at 3:29 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A Sycamore Township grandma says she decided to do something about the lifeguard shortage to make sure everyone gets to enjoy the pool this summer.

Gail Rodgers, 66, lives in the Montgomery Towne condominium community that has a private pool.

Rodgers is on the board at Montgomery Towne and she learned there was a need to hire more lifeguards or the pool would have to close on certain days.

“There’s a need out there and there’s a population that can fill that need,” explains Rodgers. “I think it’s great to be able to sit outside and enjoy the nice weather. It keeps you in shape, you find out you can do things you weren’t really sure you could do like swim 300 yards.”

Rodgers says she was a lifeguard when she was a teenager and she figured she could give it a shot again.

She took all the classes and became certified last year. Now, she fills in when the other lifeguards need time off.

“I have a dog so I walk the neighborhood so I know a lot of people with dogs but I don’t know a lot of young couples with kids,” says Rodgers, “So I’m getting to know them, I’m getting to know all the kids and I think maybe the kids will respond to me as a lifeguard more so because I am older.”

Cincinnati Pool Management is responsible for pool maintenance and staffing. President Jeff Blume says Rodgers is a great fit.

“It’s a treat, it’s wonderful,” says Blume. “We love her enthusiasm, we’re happy she’s here. She brings a new perspective to the lifeguarding world.”

In addition to getting a tan and some extra money, Rodgers is learning skills that go beyond the pool. Skills that people of all ages could use. She knows CPR, how to use an AED, and of course how to rescue someone in the event of drowning. But so far nothing major has happened while she’s on duty.

“I did have to blow my whistle a couple of times at kids that were diving when they shouldn’t be diving,” remembers Rodgers, “But they all respond great.”

Rodgers says she will probably work more once the younger lifeguards go back to school later in the summer.

Until then, she is enjoying the flexibility of choosing her own shifts and taking her grandkids to the pool when she’s not on duty.

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