the professional lifeguard foundation

recognizing & supporting

la county ocean lifeguards

The Professional Lifeguard Foundation was founded in 1996, and is composed of donors/members who are committed to fostering personal and professional development for Los Angeles County Ocean Lifeguards through scholarship and mentoring relationships. Since its inception, this non-profit organization has provided over $200,000 in unrestricted scholarship money. All Los Angeles County Ocean Lifeguards who are full-time or graduate students are eligible for consideration. Awards are based on the merits and achievements of each applicant.

the professional lifeguard foundation

scholarship application

The Scholarship Application period for 2024 is closed.

Contact Information
Educational Information

the professional lifeguard foundation

scholarship recipients

Each year the Professional Lifeguard Foundation recognizes LA County Ocean Lifeguards who have contributed to their communities and demonstrated a passion for achievement.

Amy Okada University of California, Los Angeles / MS, Loughborough University 2022 International Business / Post-Bacc California State Los Angeles 2022 Nutritional Science Top Honor Awards
Vianne Will California Lutheran University Top Honor Awards
Phoebe Joseph Central Section / University of California, Los Angeles - Chemical Engineering Top Honor Awards
Camille Lyter Southern Section / Saint Francis University - Bachelor of Nursing Top Honor Awards
Leah Timmerman Central Section / University of California, Davis School of Law Top Honor Awards
Jasmine Margetts Southern Section / El Camino College/ Grand Canyon University Runner-up
Paige Parker Southern Section / Ph.D. Candidate Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University Kevin McVerry Top Honor Awards
Helene Miles Central Section / University of California, San Francisco - School of Medicine Kevin McVerry Top Honor Awards
Camille Lyter Southern Section / Saint Francis University - Bachelor of Nursing Runner-up
Lillian Mae Riley Southern Section / Graziadio Business School at Pepperdine University Honorable Mention
Jack Tyler Central Section / University of California, Santa Barbara - Environmental Studies and Communication Honorable Mention
Maxi Brozyna-Vilim Central Section / MA, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy Top Honor
Christopher Day Central Section / Rick J. Caruso School of Law, Pepperdine Runner-up
Colleen O’Donnell Southern Section / Doctoral of Physical Therapy candidate, CSU Long Beach Runner-up
Martin Narinyan Central Section / Gonzaga School of Law Co-Top Honor
Dustin Miller Southern Section / MA, Social Work, CSU Dominguez Hills Co-Top Honor
Leah Timmerman Central Section / American Studies and Political Sciences, UC Davis Co-Top Honor
Danielle Wong Southern Section / Ph.D, Kinesiology Co-Top Honor
Kian Brouwer Central Section / English, UC Santa Barbara Runner-up
Corinne Hieatt Southern Section / Doctorate in Physical Therapy, USC Top Honor
Sarah Burris Central Section / Nursing, Santa Barbara City College Runner-up
Savannah Fletcher Central Section / BS in Nursing, Mount Saint Mary’s University Co-Top Honor
Kira Makuta Central Section / Public Health and Swimming, University of Hawaii at Manoa Co-Top Honor
Michael James Archuletta Southern Section / Physician Assistant Program, El Camino College Runner-up
Nilacala Ward Central Section / Master's in Education, Durham University Runner-up
Hakop (Jack) Baghumian Central Section / English, Loyala Marymount Univeristy Honorable Mention
Cade Bruno Southern Section / Biology (pre-med), Point Loma Nazarene University Honorable Mention
Trevor Parker Central Section / Business, CSU Channel Islands Honorable Mention
Betsy Lee Cal State Dominguez Hills - Multiple Subject Teaching Credentials Co-Top Honor
Greer Montgomery USF - Graduate Student, Museum Studies Co-Top Honor
Jackson Hauty UCSC - Human Biology Runner-up
Danielle Wong Cal State Long Beach - Graduate Student, Kinesiology/Sports Psychology Runner-up
Trevor Parker Cal State Channel Islands - Business Administration Honorable Mention
Thomas Ryan Pepperdine University - Business Administration Honorable Mention
Toby Contarsy Economics and English, UCLA Top Honor
Natalia Vecerek 1st year Medical Student, Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Runner-up
Emily Fuller Psychology, Cal State Northridge Honorable Mention
Sebastian Garcia Computer Science, Northwestern University Honorable Mention
Chance Pardon Law Student, UC Irvine Honorable Mention
Kelsey O'Donnell Masters in Nursing, University of San Francisco Top Honor
Derek Linsley Ocean and Resources Engineering, University of Hawaii Runner-up
Charles Welsey Manclark History with co-minors in Computer Science and Film Studies, Boston College Runner-up
Adam Moine Marine Transportation, California Maritime Academy Runner-up
Kailey Makuta Kinesiology, CSU Long Beach Honorable Mention
Savannah Fletcher Communications, Loyola Marymount University Honorable Mention
Taylor Spivey Architecture, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Top Honor
Jena Solberg Biology, UCSB Runner-up
Joshua Pigetti Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Runner-up
Juan Delgadillo Law, Florida Coastal School of Law Runner-up
Scott Lee Schneringer Criminal Justice, San Diego State University Runner-Up
Michael Gavola Kinesiology-Sport Psychology, CSU Longbeach Honorable Mention
Christopher Murphy Doctoral Candidate in Philosophy, University College, Dublin Top Honor
Matt Wise Law Student, Willamette University College of Law, Oregon Runner-up
Jay Riley Law Student, Bond University, Australia Honorable Mention
William Baier Master Candidate, CSU Northridge Honorable Mention
Logan Moffett Political Science, Brigham Young University Honorable Mention
Max Goldstein 2nd year M.D. student, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA Top Honor
Andrew Herzik 2nd year M.D. student, Albert Einstein college of Medicine Runner-up
Erin O'Donnell Graduate student, Occupational Therapy, USC Runner-up
Jimmy Demayo Physiology with Chemistry minor, UCSB Honorable Mention
Noel Kiesewetter Nursing, College of the Canyons Honorable Mention
Tracy Crothers 2nd year, Jefferson Medical School Top Honor
Mike Peoples Masters Candidate, University of Utah, Environmental Engineering Runner-up
David Chanin Commerce, Organizations & Entrepreneurship/Economics, Brown University Runner-up
Nate Isbell PhD Candidate, Geography, UCSD Honorable Mention
Austin Bates Geography, UCLA Honorable Mention
Lacey Beattie Geography/Environmental Science, UCLA Co-Top Honor
Laura Johnson 1st year, Western University, College of Osteopathic Medicine Co-Top Honor
John Halushka PhD Candidate, Law and Society, New York University Runner-Up
John Lane Business, LMU Runner-Up
Kari Lyman Nursing, CSU Channel Islands Top Honor
Paloma Slezak Master's Candidate, Sports Psychology, CSU Long Beach Runner-up
Clara Lee Environmental Biology, UC Berkeley Honorable Mention
Ronnie Pezeshk 2nd Year medical student, St. George's School of Medicine Honorable Mention
Zahra Shahalayl Registered Nursing Program, El Camino College Honorable Mention
Thomas Zimmerfaust PhD candidate, Economics, University of Texas at Austin Top Honor
Corinne Hieatt Human Biology, UCSD Runner-up
Jeff Hart CSU Northridge Honorable Mention
Zachary Barton CSU Channel Islands Honorable Mention
Chelsea Colleen Hutchinson Masters of Education, Pepperdine University Top Honor
Christine Paige Gallas Masters, Marriage and Family Therapy, USC Runner-up
Catherine Rush Wong UCLA Honorable Mention
James Parrish UCSD Honorable Mention
Corinne Hieatt Human Biology, UCSD Honorable Mention
Mathew David Pifer Undergraduate, El Camino College Top Honor
Brian Millar Masters Degree in Physical Education Runner-up
Ryne Niner Honorable Mention
James Parrish Honorable Mention
Jonathan Wheeler Honorable Mention
Kyle Brooks St. George's Medical School Top Honor
Joshua Goldberg Second year, Albert Einstein College of Medicine Top Honor
Jason Brooks University of Wisconsin, Madison's Law School Runner-up
Jake Chanin Sophmore in biochemistry at the University of Pennsylvania Honorable Mention
Stephen Isbell Junior at UCSB, majoring in Chemical Engineering Honorable Mention
Romina Mosquera Studying to be a translator at UCLA Honorable Mention
Carolina Campos
Elizabeth Glick
Kyle Power
David Tong
Jamie Brooks
Kyle Brooks
Emily Dashiell
Elizabeth Glick
Ericka M. Keithly
Jeff Miller
Rob Raffaelli
Matt Smart
Jamie Brooks
Ericka M. Keithly
William Krauss
Lisa Timmerman
Susan Mercedes Laham
Albert Mendoza
Kyle Brooks
Chris Cramer
Steve Downes
Jason May
Mike McIndoe
Ken Shibata
Rachel Richards
Damon Willick
Simon Kim
Michael T. Hurst
Kevin Trosian
Dustin Sanchez
Jonathan Henke
Dustin Sanchez
Loren Chaffin
Ken Haskett
Martin Sansing
Kyle Daniels
James Fujikake
Chris Johnson
Jason May
Christopher McAllister
Heidi Murray
Katie Peterson
Rachel Inglis Richards
Carley Rogers
Jennifer Romesser
Vincent Trotter
David VanWagner

the professional lifeguard foundation

recognizing our supporters

The Professional Lifeguard Foundation is 100% donor-supported. The contributions from the donors listed below have made a significant impact in the lives of LA County Ocean Lifeguards.

donors & supporters
  • David Albinus
  • Angus Alexander
  • Judi and Greg Arnett
  • Dan and Kimberly Atkins
  • Kenneth and Desiree Atkins
  • Rachel Atkins
  • Tony Bardin
  • Jeane M. Barrett
  • Herb Barthels
  • Spike Beck
  • Jill Beierle
  • Rosamund and Robert Berson
  • Greg Bonann
  • Jim and Peggy Boulgarides
  • Frank and Ursula Brooks
  • Kyle and Tara Brooks
  • David Brookwell
  • Nathalie Brouwer
  • Nicole Bures
  • Gavin Calder
  • Robert Calverley
  • Tara Mittal-Campbell
  • David Carr
  • Allen Chong
  • Meghan Clark
  • Cindy Cleveland
  • Steve and Joyce Contarsy
  • Margaret and Bret Cook
  • Robert and Laura Cordobes
  • Brian Craig
  • Scott and Shannon Davey
  • Scott DeBoer
  • Randy Degregori
  • Nancy Dunaetz and Pat Dennis
  • Glenn and Louise Dexter
  • James Doman
  • Daniel and Kathleen Douglas
  • Harold Dunnigan
  • David Edsall
  • Steve Fisher
  • Jason and Shirly Kim Fladoos
  • John and JoAnn Fletcher
  • Mitch Flyer
  • Margaret (Ginger) Flynn
  • Mike and Teresa Frazer
  • Tim and Ericka Gair
  • Denise Galbawy
  • Alice and Eli Gauna
  • Joel Gitelson
  • Charlotte Graham
  • Stephen P. Graner
  • Scott Grigsby
  • Marilyn and Paul Gudmundsson
  • Shota Guterres
  • Ralph Hawthorne
  • Susan Hagen
  • Ed and Theresa Heinrich
  • Sherry and Gerald Heinrich
  • Daniel Heitz
  • Andrew Herzik
  • Larry and Anne Hopp
  • Corinne and Robert Holzman
  • Steve and Audra Hotchkiss
  • Scott and Kathy Hubbell
  • Jake and Dru Ann Jacobson
  • Robert Janis
  • Emily and Chris Johnson
  • Christopher Jon Young
  • Steve and Joyce Contarsy
  • Tom Katsouleas
  • Bennett Katz
  • Lance Keene
  • Marc L. Kelly
  • John Kim
  • Bill and Barbara Krauss
  • LACOLA-South Bay Locker
  • Mai Lai
  • Brian Lanich
  • Shari Latta
  • Marla Liberty
  • Chris Linkletter
  • Chuck Locko
  • James C. Lowe
  • Sheryl Luera and Bill Robinson
  • Matt Lutton
  • Kari Lyman
  • Kelly and Cathy Lynn
  • William Maguire
  • Veronica and Jim Makuta
  • Kevin Marble
  • Marina Del Rey Hospital
  • Richard and Charmaine Mark
  • Dan and Ninette Matthies
  • John Matty Matesich
  • Jason May
  • Jeff McConnel
  • Robert McGowan
  • Tim McNulty
  • Kevin and Anna McVerry
  • Mark C. Mehrali
  • Mark Montgomery
  • Kent and Melea Morris
  • Steve Moseley
  • William and Sheila Mount
  • Michael J. Murphy
  • Erik and Heidi Nelson
  • Michael Newman
  • John Newton
  • Patricia O'Connell
  • Erin O'Donnell
  • Peggy and Michael O’Donnell
  • Tom Olson
  • Eldin B Onsgard
  • Patrick Padilla, M.D.
  • Tom Pani
  • Paige Parker
  • R.M. Patterson
  • Ron and Denise Pearlman
  • Elizabeth and Matt Pennington
  • Tom Peters
  • Charles Piccarro
  • Larry and Kathy Raffaelli
  • Todd Ribera
  • Merrill Riley
  • Klementina and Gene Rink
  • Charlotte Roberson
  • Craig & Jennifer Rond
  • Kathryn Salm
  • Adam Sandler
  • Todd and Diane Sands
  • Abby Schneider
  • Ken Shibata
  • Paul A. and Alicia Silka
  • Steven and Christine Silver
  • Matt Smart
  • Jeff Thornton and Stacy Smith
  • Steve and Ann Snyder
  • Mel and Desiree Solberg
  • Jane Stancikas
  • Daniel Stephenson
  • Dustin and Elizabeth Stevens
  • Shannon Sullivan
  • Ken Synder
  • Kirk and Christine Thomas
  • Phil Topar
  • Rob Torres
  • Kevin Trosian
  • Adam Uehara
  • Don and Suzanne Van Doren
  • Arthur Verge, Ph.D.
  • Stephen Wein
  • William A. White
  • Luke Williams
  • Norton and Robin Wisdom
  • Catherine Wong
  • Charles Wood
  • Matthew Wu
  • Erik T. Wylie
  • Mark Young

the professional lifeguard foundation

calendar of events

Our upcoming schedule and future events.

november 2022

  • The Professional Lifeguard Foundation
    26th Year Donor Recognition Event

    18:00 to 20:00, Saturday November 5th, 2022

    Maple Block Meat Co.
    3973 Sepulveda Blvd
    Culver City, CA 90230

    Please RSVP to
november 2021

  • The Professional Lifeguard Foundation
    25th Year Donor Recognition Event

    Hosted by Mark Verge

    17:30 to 19:30, Saturday November 6th, 2021

    602 Palisades Beach Road
    Santa Monica

    Please RSVP to

the professional lifeguard foundation

lifetime achievement

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes ocean lifeguards who have made outstanding and significant contributions to advance the profession.

Greg Bonann (2021)

Northern and Central Section (1970-present)

Greg began his lifeguard career in 1970 as an LA City Ocean Lifeguard. After graduating from the training academy he worked Will Rogers State Beach adopting Tower 18 as his own.

When Los Angeles City and County Lifeguard services merged in 1975 Greg continued to work thoughout the Central Section including the beaches of Topanga, Will Rogers, Santa Monica, Venice, and Del Rey.

In the summer of 1977, while working Will Rogers State Beach, Bonann performed a routine rescue of some children who were caught in a rip-current. The children's father was Stu Erwin, Jr. who worked for MTM Enterprises, a television production company run by Grant Tinker, the future chairman and CEO of NBC. Bonann would go on to pitch his idea for a television show about lifeguards to Erwin and Tinker, who eventually helped him sell Baywatch to NBC.

In 1989, while scouting locations in Venice Beach, California with the Baywatch producers and writing staff, Bonann was approached by a teenager who had lost his friend in the water. Bonann swam out and made three surface dives before finding the boy, who had been submerged underwater for several minutes, and revived him using mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while treading water. The boy was taken to UCLA Medical Center where he recovered. Bonann received the Medal of Valor from Los Angeles County for that rescue.

In 1994 the L.A. County Lifeguard service merged into the Los Angeles County Fire Department, making Bonann an L.A. County Firefighter within its Lifeguard Division.

In 2001, Bonann became an Ocean Lifeguard for Honolulu City and County, Oahu, Hawaii.

Bonann transferred to the Northern Section of Los Angeles County in 2013, including Malibu and Zuma beaches. For the past 8 years he has been a Junior Lifeguard Instructor at Zuma Beach - mentoring the next generation of Southern California Lifeguards.

In 2021 he began his 52nd year as a Los Angeles County Lifeguard.

Bonann has been recognized by the Belgian Life Saving Federation, and the International Life Saving Federation for his dedication to the field, and in 2000 he was awarded the Gold Medallion from the International Swimming Hall of Fame for his achievements and contributions.

In 1992, Bonann and partner, Tai Collins, launched a non-profit organization called “The Camp Baywatch Foundation” to benefit homeless and at-risk youth.

The foundation began by teaching inner city children about water safety through a week-long summer camp. Bonann called in favors from Baywatch cast members, Olympic athletes, and other celebrities who volunteered at the camp. The children were not only taught to swim in both a pool and the ocean, but each received individual instruction in water safety from LA County Lifeguard, U.S. Coast Guard, and L.A. County Fire personnel. Since then, the charity has grown into a year-round program, partnering with Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles Police Department. In addition to the Summer Camp the foundation offers a variety of after-school, summer, and sports programs, as well as educational trips, and college scholarships.

When the Baywatch television series ended in 2001, the foundation name was changed to "A Chance For Children Foundation". NBC's The Today show honored Bonann in 2009 by choosing A Chance For Children as one of their charities of the year.

In 2013, while working on SAF3, Bonann and Collins established a new branch of A Chance for Children in Cape Town, South Africa. This international extension of the foundation focuses on the education of the children of the townships of Langa, Gugulethu, and Khayelitsha.

Mike O'Donnell (2011)

Central Section (active since 1977)

Dr. O’Donnell has served as a faculty member in the Division of Biokinesiology & Physical Therapy at USC for twenty five years. In that capacity he led courses in advanced patient management in the entry level Doctor of Physical Therapy program. He also served as the director of the Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency. Outside of USC Dr. O’Donnell has lectured nationally and internationally and has presented his research locally as well as at national and international conferences.

In addition to clinical and academic pursuits, Mike has maintained his status as a recurrent Ocean Lifeguard with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, a position he has held since 1977. He competes regularly in ocean lifeguard events and has won two National Titles for lifeguard surfboat racing and six National Doryman’s titles. He enjoys Master’s swimming and for several years he coached age group water polo. Mike was born and raised in San Pedro, California, and he lives locally with his wife Peggy and their three daughters, Erin, Kelsey and Colleen.

Arthur Verge, Jr. (2006)

Central Section (active 1974-2016)

Dr. Arthur Verge is a professor of history at El Camino College in Torrance, California. He received a B.A. in history from the University of California at Santa Barbara and an M.A., M.P.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Southern California. He was the recipient of the college’s Distinguished Faculty Award in 2004. Among his published works is Paradise Transformed: Los Angeles During the Second World War. He worked closely with noted historian Andrew Rolle on both the 7th and 8th editions of California: A History.

Professor Verge also doubled as a Los Angeles County Lifeguard. He began his career in 1974 and served to 2016. During his forty-two year career, he was elected to the Executive Board of the Los Angeles County Lifeguard Association 13 consecutive terms serving from 1992 to his retirement in 2016. He wrote two books on the lifeguard service (Los Angeles County Lifeguards and Santa Monica Lifeguards (Arcadia Press). His article on lifeguard\surfing legend George Freeth (which appeared in the summer 2001 issue of the Journal of California History) was the basis for the 2009 award winning film “Waveriders” It was voted Best Feature Documentary at the National Irish Film and Television Awards and Best Documentary in the 39th Annual Surfer Poll Awards (it was the first non-American film ever to win).

Harold "Hal" Dunnigan (2016)

Northern, Central, and Southern Section (1949-2016)

Harold “Hal” Dunnigan began his career as an ocean lifeguard in 1949 in Santa Monica. One of the first County lifeguards to serve in this capacity. In his 57 years of service as a lifeguard he served for Los Angeles City, Santa Monica City, and Los Angles County Lifeguard Services. While his career as a lifeguard has been his passion, Hal achieved success in multiple arenas.

He became a Navy Seal (he was in Class 6 of the newly formed Underwater Demolition Team which was later renamed the Unitied States Navy Seals) and served from the Korean War through the First Gulf War. He received a Presidential citation for this service. He retired with the rank of Chief at the age of 61 but continues to to serve as an advisor.

Additionally, Hal had a distinguished career as an educator. He was the Vice Prinicpal of the new opened Malibu Park Junior High School and was named Principal of Olympic High School in Santa Monica. Olympic High was designated as an alternative school designed to aid those students at risk of dropping out. Hall is credited with influencing scores of young men and women to reach their potential.

But, it is lifeguarding that has had the most profound and lasting influence on Hal’s life. He competed in multiple Taplins, was a Rookie School (now Training Academy) Instructor. He became the second training officer for the Los Angeles City Lifeguard Service and was recognized for evolving the training from a military boot camp paradigm which aimed at washing out candidates to that of a collaborative assiting all cadets to become lifeguards. Alumni of these classes have become recognized leaders and mentors of our current day service. Additionally, established the Annual LACOLA Blood Drive, a program that has benefited thousands far beyond the horizon of our Los Angeles County Beaches.

the professional lifeguard foundation

past communications

A history of the Foundation told through the annual updates and communications to donors.

the professional lifeguard foundation

photo archives

If you have any photos to contribute, please contact us to share! We would very much like to include your images here.

tour de central

July 2016
Photos courtesy of Joel Gitelson (see more of his photography here).


October 2016
Photos courtesy of Joel Gitelson (see more of his photography here).

plf donor recognition event

September 2013
Photos courtesy of Joel Gitelson (see more of his photography here).

the professional lifeguard foundation


Please reach out with any questions – or ways you can help the Professional Lifeguard Foundation!