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The highest lifeguard award presented by USLA is the Medal of Valor. The primary purpose for creating this award is to give due recognition to an individual lifeguard who voluntarily risked their life, to an extraordinary degree, in saving, or attempting to save another person, or who sacrificed themselves for the benefit of others. Recipients and their families are awarded the USLA Medal of Valor at a CSLSA Board of Directors′ meeting. They also receive the CSLSA MOV award.

2017 Medal of Valor Recipient:

  • David Wilson - Lifeguard, Oceanside, CA
  •        On Wednesday, July 17, 2016, Oceanside Lifeguard David Wilson responded to a call of a personal watercraft operator who had been thrown off his jet ski, landing in the North Jetty of Oceanside Harbor. Upon arrival Lifeguard Wilson found the victim in an area nicknamed "the Devil's Triangle," wedged waist deep in the rocks of the jetty and being struck by extremely large surf. Wilson worked to free the man, but could not extricate him. He continuously used his body to shield the victim from the onslaught of the surf and to prevent aspiration of sea water, until additional personnel arrived on scene to assist in rescuing the victim. As a result of his efforts to shield the victim and protect him from drowning, Wilson sustained abrasions to his left rib cage, contusions to his lower back, and abrasions to his shoulders and arms. For his selfless act of heroism in extremely hazardous conditions, David Wilson was awarded the California Surf Lifesaving Association’s Medal of Valor.
    2017 Medal of Valor Recipients:

  • John Bahl - Lifeguard, San Diego, CA
  • Chris Ingalls - Lifeguard, San Diego, CA
  •        On Wednesday, November 6, 2016, San Diego Lifeguards John Bahl and Chris Ingalls received a call of a vessel in distress near the surf at Windansea Beach in La Jolla. Shortly thereafter they learned that the vessel had capsized in the surf ejecting an unknown number of occupants. Upon arrival, as the first lifeguards on scene, Bahl and Ingalls entered the water in complete darkness, swimming through 10-12 foot surf. Despite swallowing a lot of sea water, Bahl continued with his rescue and pulled two of the victims to safety, while Ingalls braved the same harsh elements and rescued the other two. Ingalls swam to shore to conduct a land search for the final missing victim, but could not locate him. Bahl made it to shore and collapsed, suffering from aspiration of sea water, and was hospitalized overnight. Unfortunately, the fifth victim, the captain of the vessel, did not survive. For their selfless acts of heroism in extremely hazardous conditions, John Bahl and Chris Ingalls are hereby awarded the California Surf Lifesaving Association’s Medal of Valor.

    USLA Lifeguard Medal of Valor
         Recipients from California agencies

      Albers, Bob 1999 San Diego, CA
      Bahl, John 2017 San Diego, CA.
      Bartlett, Mike 2005 Huntington Beach, CA.
      Beuerlein, Mike 1989 Huntington Beach, CA
      Blackford, Matt 2010 Newport Beach, CA
      Borland, Tim 2003 Port San Luis Harbor District, CA
      Brown, Mark 2012 San Diego, CA
      Buck, Nathaniel 2009 California State Parks, CA
      Carlson, Ben 2014 Newport Beach, CA
      (posthumous to rescue effort)
      Carter, David 1991 Cal State Parks (Russian River District)
      Cicchetto, Sean 1996 San Diego, CA
      Coats, Eric 2006 Cal State Parks (Lake Perris)
      Connolly, Chris 2016 Cal State Parks (Ventura)
      Corbo, Christian 1998 Laguna Beach, CA
      Culp, Casey 1998 California State Parks, CA
      Feighan, Mark 2010 San Diego, CA
      Fellars, Timothy B. 2009 California State Parks, CA
      Fesler, Jeff 2003 Port San Luis Harbor District, CA
      Gitelson, Joel 2006 Los Angeles County, CA
      Grigsby, Scott 1994 Los Angeles County, CA
      Griguoli, Rich 2003 California State Parks, CA
      Harris, Ed 1999 San Diego, CA
      Higa, Brian 2012 City/County of Honolulu, HI
      Horn, Brit 2005 Sonoma Coast State Beach, CA
      Ingalls, Chris 2017 San Diego, CA
      Keulana, Brian 1996 Honolulu, HI
      Korber, Paul 1998 Ventura County, CA
      (posthumous to rescue effort)
      Larsen, Billy 2003 Pismo Beach, CA
      Liebig, Peter 2010 San Diego, CA
      McDonald, Daryl 2010 San Diego, CA
      Meyer, Greg 2010 Newport Beach, CA
      Milligan, Joe 1989 California State Parks, CA
      Murphy, Timothy 1996 California State Parks, CA
      Northhelfer, James W. 2009 California State Parks, CA
      Panis, Marc 1989 Huntington Beach, CA
      Pendergraft, Aaron 2016 Cal State Parks (Sonoma)
      Pepper, Laine 1999 San Diego, CA
      Quigley, Patrick 1998 Laguna Beach, CA
      Quigley, Patrick 1999 San Diego, CA
      (this is his second award)
      Raines, Dave 1999 San Diego, CA
      Snow, Kevin 1998 Laguna Beach, CA
      Sproull, Mark 1998 Laguna Beach, CA
      Stephenson, Michael 1996 California State Parks, CA
      Straub, Don 1991 Cal State Parks (Russian River District)
      Tegland, Ormand 1998 Laguna Beach, CA
      Trager, Tom 1998 Laguna Beach, CA
      Vipond, Jon 2010 San Diego, CA
      Wilson, David 2017 Oceanside, CA