On June 5, 2010 Drennen Peter O’Melia opened his seventh competitive swim season by swimming the anchor leg on two winning relay teams and qualifying for All-Stars in his three individual events. The next day, June 6, Drennen drowned in three and a half to four feet of water near an unmanned lifeguard chair. Drennen went unnoticed for at least five minutes by the lifeguards who were on duty.
Since that day, the O’Melia family, our community and so many others have cried and grieved over the loss of Drennen. We’ve also questioned how his death could have been avoided and other families spared this pain. The Drennen’s Dreams Foundation gives us a vehicle to turn our grief and questions into action.
Our call to action came when Bill O’Melia, father of Drennen, was invited to give a heartfelt presentation to the Highlands Ranch Community Association in May 2014. Bill spoke to hundreds of lifeguards and talked about the responsibility that lifeguards have: to not only be trained, but to react instinctively so drownings are prevented and lives are saved. Bill’s words made a visible impact. This led the Foundation to assemble an hour long presentation to make this impact repeatable.
Word has spread quickly about Drennen’s story, Bill’s presentation, and our common goal to make lifeguards lifesavers. Drennen’s Dreams receives requests from parks and recreation departments and aquatics facilities throughout the State of Colorado and nationally. To date, thousands of aquatics personnel have heard the presentation. Tens of thousands more will begin to hear a small portion of the story as part of the American Red Cross’s Lifeguard Training in a segment titled “Not On Your Watch”. We know that’s not enough, more aquatics personnel need to hear the entire presentation to receive it’s full impact.
Drennen’s Dreams is focused on making guarded pools safer for patrons, especially children. Every day, we focus our energy on taking pool safety to the next level by sharing Drennen’s story with lifeguards, pool managers, and others. All it takes is a request and the Drennen’s Dreams Foundation can help you make an impact.
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