As of Thursday, January 2, 2014
For some it may be difficult to balance college and a job, while giving back to the community they grew up in. Sunnyside lifeguard Keala Drollinger has found that balance, however. This is the sixth season Drollinger has been lifeguarding. She hasn't always been a lifeguard at the Sunnyside pool. "I was a lifeguard in Prosser, too." Drollinger started lifeguarding at the age of 15. She had been a regular patron of the Sunnyside pool and decided working at the pool would be a good way to spend her summers. Now a student at Yakima Valley Community College, that job has provided her a way to meet her college expenses. She is able to continue working as she completes her studies. "I still take classes during the summer," said Drollinger. "I am able to work around my schedule," she said. Being a lifeguard is rewarding, according to Drollinger. She said she enjoys the atmosphere "...working around the water, swimming and working with the kids." Drollinger said she enjoys seeing children enjoying themselves on a daily basis. "It's fun to be around children who are enjoying themselves...you don't really get to see them at their bad points...just when they are happy," she said. Every two years Drollinger must be recertified. She said she's Red Cross certified and trained. That training isn't often put to the test, but the one time Drollinger did need to use her skills she was able to perform an active drowning rescue. The drowning victim didn't require CPR because of the quick thinking and action of Drollinger. "If you get to them fast enough, they won't need CPR," she said, noting that such a situation can be both frightening and rewarding. Drollinger said a lifeguard's worst fear is not reaching a drowning victim in time. But, when a lifeguard does reach the victim in a timely fashion, it is rewarding to know that being trained properly helped to save the individual. "The only drawback to being a lifeguard is the heat," said Drollinger, stating, "It's hard to sit in the sun for consecutive hours. "Other than that, it's a pretty good job."