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    Thursday, August 11, 2022

    Merit badge comes in handy

    A recent Day photograph of a young girl standing on the raft at Guthrie Beach brought back a memory of almost 60 years ago when I was also on the raft.

    A girl about the same age as the child in the picture was swimming out to the float when she became tired and needed help. I earned lifesaving merit badge a couple of years earlier. I went in without losing sight of the swimmer. While she was tired, she was not panicky, so instead of any of the fancy moves I had learned, I simply extended my left arm, told her to hang on, and I side-stroked over to the raft. The girl climbed the ladder, at which point a lady, who had been watching, yelled at her for being foolish to try to swim so far. Although I was only a teenager, I suspected that was not appropriate. After the child calmed down and was rested, I told her to let me know when she wanted to go back to the beach, and I would swim alongside her near the rope.

    I am glad I earned that merit badge and I am thankful that I only had to use those skills once.

    Robert F. Welt


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