PAYSON, Utah — A young lifeguard and his co-workers were honored by the City of Payson on Wednesday night for their quick actions to save a man at the Payson pool a few weeks ago.
15-year-old Mason Walton has only been working as a lifeguard at the pool for a few weeks, but is already being credited with saving the life of a man who experienced a medical event in the water on June 18, 2021.
“I just saw a body against the side floating, so I blow two long whistles because that means there’s a passive drowning,” said Walton, who lifted the man out of the water and immediately checked for a pulse. While waiting for emergency responders, Mason gave the man rescue breaths.
His co-workers and an off-duty registered nurse came over to assist. “I couldn’t have done it without my co-workers. “It was pretty crazy, you can train all you want but when it happens it’s a whole different thing.”
Mason, who works at the pool with his two brothers, was trained by Robbie Gard, a new facility manager at the Payson City Pool. He credits his quick actions to the training and constant practice that he and his fellow lifeguards perform.
“It’s amazing as a lifeguard instructor and being able to certify our lifeguards seeing someone I only trained less than eight weeks ago actually use those skills is an incredibly proud moment for me,” said Gard. “So proud of them, in the way they acted, the way they responded, it was just incredible.”
Lifeguards want to remind parents and swimmers to stay vigilant while at the pool. As temperatures exceed triple-digits, staying hydrated and wearing sunscreen can also help keep pool visitors safe.
“The big role of a lifeguard is to watch over and protect,” said Gard. “Mason’s role was primary responder he was the person to help and assist the individual in getting out of the pool so we could give those lifesaving ventilations.”
“Lifeguard, it’s just in the name, you watch the water, guard them, if someone gets in trouble you help them,” said Walton, who already intends to come back and work as a lifeguard next summer at the pool.