RSA Vodacom Lifesavers of the Year

Bronwyn Baumgart (Easterns) and Grant Breetzke’s (Eastern Cape), dedicated to serving the community through lifesaving, have been announced as the Vodacom Lifesavers of the Year.

The prestigious titles were awarded for their unwavering support to Lifesaving South Africa’s voluntary arm. The pair earned 7 000 South African Rand each for their hard work.

Breetzke was named Vodacom Surf Lifesaver of the Year and Baumgart was the selected Vodacom Stillwater Lifesaver of the Year. All surf and still water lifesaving provinces were invited to put forward members of their associations for the titles. From this list the names were whittled down to the top three and then the winners were carefully selected based on their contribution to the sport over the years.

23 year old Baumgart (see picture) from East Rand has already been awarded the Gold Diploma, the highest award in lifesaving for CPR and first aid skills, as well as having clocked up 40 patrol hours in this season. She has been involved in Stillwater Lifesaving for the past 16 years; has been a member of the South African Stillwater Lifesaving Team from 1997 to 2004 and is currently passing on her expertise by running her own lifesaving school.

“I’m very excited and honoured; I have been doing this as a service to the community and training by putting in hours in the pool – as many hours as an Olympic swimmer. When you do work like this for the community you don’t really get any recognition so now it is great to be in a position where I can provide inspiration to youngsters to achieve what I have achieved,” commented Baumgart who will be competing at the German Cup Stillwater Lifesaving event in November.

Sardinia Bay Surf Lifesaving Club Chairman Breetzke was thrilled to learn that his efforts over the past 32 years had not gone by unnoticed. He joined lifesaving when he was 15 years old and passed his SPA (Surf Proficiency Award) in 1973. Since then his involvement with lifesaving has grown exponentially Breetzke has successfully instructed and examined numerous successful lifeguard candidates; he is also the Eastern Cape Surf Lifesaving Association’s Chairman as well as spending extra time judging Eastern Cape Lifesaving events.

“I’m honoured, I have been in the movement for a very long time and whatever I have done for lifesaving hasn’t been for a reward; I’m very proud of the fact that the Eastern Cape region has received this award as well as being a great achievement for a small club like Sardinia Bay,” commented Breetzke who has accumulated 108 patrol hours this season and has been involved with lifesaving for 32 years.

Breetzke believes that the Vodacom Lifesaver of the Year award is a big incentive for the voluntary lifeguards to get involved at all levels of lifesaving. “I was very surprised when I was chosen because I believe that all three of us who were nominated were equally qualified for the award, I am very grateful that Vodacom initiated an award like this because it is a great incentive for other lifesavers to get involved in the LSA movement in all aspects of lifesaving and not just as a competitor,” said Breetzke.

Vodacom recognises the dedicated men and women at beaches and pools across the country who give of their time and skills to safeguard the water. For seven years Vodacom has stood firmly behind South Africa’s lifesaving initiative. Vodacom is proud to be associated with a unified and credible organisation such as Lifesaving South Africa – which offers lifesaving protection to all communities of South Africa.