LAKEWOOD, Ohio -- It’s a lifeguard’s job to keep swimmers safe at the beach or pool, but they don’t usually have to save people on their first day at work.
Meet Jack Viglianco, 15.
The Ohio teen put his life-saving skills to the test just 20 minutes into his first shift at the Foster Pool in Lakewood. Viglianco got his first job as a lifeguard after completing his training last week. On the first day, he saw a young child, flailing in the water, screaming out for help.
“I'm glad that I knew what I was doing, up on that chair,” he said.
If he hadn't, a 4-year-old child may have died. Viglianco quickly jumped into action before the child went underwater. He said his adrenaline was pumping, and his hands were shaking.
“I mean, it was my first day,” Viglianco said. “I mean, my heart was racing.”
Afterwards, he called his mother.
“The phone rings at my house,” Caron Viglianco said. “It was Jack, and he sounded really shaky. He said, ‘Mom,’ and I asked, ‘What's wrong?’ And he just said ‘I saved someone.’”
In general, lifeguards rescue people more often than many may realize. According to the Lakewood City Schools Community Recreation and Education Aquatic manager, there were 42 rescues last summer between the pools at Lakewood Park and Madison Park.
“Unfortunately, it's something that happens a little too often,” he said.
As for Viglianco, he said his harrowing experience has turned him into a more confident lifeguard.
“It makes me feel much better about being a lifeguard, because if I didn't, then I would just be sitting there,” he said. “I would always be afraid, but now, I know what to do.”
Caron Viglianco called her son a hero, but at the same time, she said the positive response from the community has been very humbling.
“I’m very proud of him,” she said.