An Ohio grandmother came out of retirement to take a summer job as a lifeguard to ensure her community pool would stay open amid a nationwide staffing shortage.
Gail Rodgers, 66, took the new job when the Montgomery Towne Condominiums where she resides and serves as board president was going to be forced to reduce the pool hours over the lack of lifeguards, according to local station Fox19.
Rodgers was a lifeguard as a teen and decided to see if she could don the red suit once again — more than 50 years later.
“I thought, ‘Well, I did this lifeguard thing back in the late ’60s’ so I thought maybe I can do this again,” she told Good Morning America.
Rodgers took all the necessary classes and became certified last year after passing the physical test.
Her new boss, president of Cincinnati Pool Management Jeff Blume, said the test is not a walk in the park.
“[Lifeguard candidates] have to swim a 300-yard length and that is 12 laps at a traditional swimming pool. They have to tread water for the allotted amount of time and then they have to swim a length and then submerge and grab a 10-pound brick off the bottom of the pool,” Blume told the morning show.
Rodgers, a mother of two and grandmother of three, passed all portions and officially started as a part-time lifeguard on May 27 — filling in when the other guards need time off.
“There’s a need out there and there’s a population that can fill that need,” she told Fox19. “I think it’s great to be able to sit outside and enjoy the nice weather. It keeps you in shape, you find out you can do things you weren’t really sure you could do like swim 300 yards.”
Blume said Rodgers is a “joy” to have on staff adding that lifeguarding isn’t just a job for her but an experience.
“We love her enthusiasm, we’re happy she’s here,” he said. “She brings a new perspective to the lifeguarding world.”
Rodgers also said she is enjoying her new gig.
“It’s been fun watching the kids playing with their parents and people enjoying the nice weather in the pool,” she said. “It’s been a lot better and more pleasant than I expected it to be.”
She plans to take on more hours in the late summer when her younger coworkers head back to school.
Rodgers said other seniors and older adults should consider guarding especially as the whole country is grappling with a lifeguard shortage.
“I hadn’t done a lot of swimming in a long time so I was a little concerned myself, but I think a lot of people could be doing this, and it might be good for them to get out and do this even,” she said. “[It] pays well. You can set your own schedule. Doesn’t get much better than that.”