Americas Region President B. Chris Brewster has announced the appointment of Paul Dunning as Director of US Lifesaving Aid for the ILS Americas Region.
This appointment is aimed at coordinating various sources of lifesaving aid in the US that are offered to other parts of the Americas Region.
Until now, those efforts have sometimes been coordinated through the Americas Region and other times have been independent.
The goal is to encourage efforts that promote self-sufficiency in lifesaving and ultimate membership in the ILS from all countries in the Americas Region.
According to Brewster, “Paul’s role will be to coordinate US aid, in the form of donated expertise, equipment, and funding, in a manner consistent with the goals of the Americas Region. Paul’s focus will be to work toward the development of mostly or fully self-sustaining lifesaving organizations, maximizing the availability of talented US lifeguards, donated equipment, and generous donors.”
Dunning’s appointment comes after his work leading the extraordinarily successful, “Project Ecuador,” a five year effort which inspired dozens of US lifesavers to offer training and support in Ecuador, especially during peak holiday periods when many drowning deaths occur. This effort elicited $20,000 in cash donations and $13,000 in product donations.
In October 2011, the Ecuadoran government announced a new program called Proyecto Segura Playas (Project Safe Beaches) to institutionalize lifeguards in all coastal Provinces. A government ministry, Rescate Acuatico, will oversee the project with a two-year, $400,000 budget for rescue equipment, rescue boats, training and infrastructure development. Rescate Acuatico will certify the lifeguards originally trained by Project Ecuador volunteers to be eligible to be hired by local municipalities. Only certified lifeguards will be permitted to work on the beach and municipalities are now required to create a budget for lifeguards.
Achieving this breakthrough required innumerable meetings with government officials, consular officers, local public safety providers, and others. According to Dunning, “Each country in the Americas is unique and no one model can be applied in each case, but the lessons from Project Ecuador offer a path forward. There is much work to be done.”
The Americas Region encourages that any lifesaving development efforts on the part of US entities that involve lifesaving assistance in the Americas Region be coordinated through Mr. Dunning. He will work with proposers to help ensure that their proposals have maximum benefit and can achieve endorsement of the Americas Region.
Mr. Dunning is a retired recurrent Long Beach, California lifeguard (1978-2011). He is President of Long Beach-Manta Sister Cities, Chairman of the Board of Long Beach Sister Cities, Inc. and Commissioner, Comite de Fiestas Patrias Ecuatorianas. He is a finance executive at JM Eagle, the world’s largest PVC pipe manufacturer. Project Ecuador received USLA’s
National Lifesaving Award in 2008.