Park Ranger Receives National Award for Saving Two Swimmers in Gulf

Posted on October 4, 2021 by Staff reports

Gulf Islands National Seashore Law Enforcement Ranger Andrew Robinson on September 23 received the Valor Award for saving the lives of two near drowning victims earlier this year.

The Valor Award, established in 1957, recognizes an employee’s demonstration of unusual courage involving a high degree of personal risk in the face of danger.   

On March 27, 2021, Ranger Robinson was patrolling a park beach, encouraging visitors to stay out of dangerous surf conditions. He was alerted to swimmers in distress trapped in heavy rip currents.

The swimmers were struggling to stay above water while  being pulled farther away from shore. Ranger Robinson responded immediately and entered the water to rescue two people. He fought strong surf conditions and fast-moving rip currents to reach the first victim who was approximately 100 yards offshore and bring her to safety.  He then went back into the rough surf approximately 150 yards to reach the second person. Realizing a rescue vessel was on its way, he supported the man, kept him calm and held his face out of the water until help arrived. The two victims were transported to local area hospitals, where they full recovered. 

“Rip currents are hidden dangers along our Gulf Coast beaches’ said Superintendent Darrell Echols, “ and visitors should swim at guarded beaches whenever possible.”