From Lifeguard to First Responder

February 23, 2023, Department, by Craig Pattenaude

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For an enhanced digital experience, read this story in the ezine.

One student’s inspiring journey to help others

Being a lifeguard is an important job that requires leadership, immediate action, emergency readiness, and special skills training to meet your responsibilities. For one student, a purpose-driven determination to help the community led him on a journey from poolside rescuer to first responder.

It all started when Cole Munsey’s family experienced a severe car accident in 2008. “My mom was knocked unconscious, and our family dogs were ejected from the vehicle,” Munsey remembers. “The fire department came, and they saved us at that moment.” Thankfully, everyone survived, and the positive response from the first responders and paramedics left a lasting impression on Munsey. He decided then and there that he wanted to do something to help others in similar situations. “I want to be that person to help others in those unknown moments,” he says.

Finding His Passion Through Lifeguarding

Munsey started down this path when he got a job as a lifeguard at the Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD) Parks and Recreation Department located in Elk Grove, California. There, he had the opportunity to learn valuable emergency response procedures and lifesaving skills while helping families stay safe and learn to swim in the community’s pools. Munsey explains, “Lifeguarding 100 percent made me find my passion for the fire service.”

Munsey continued to build upon his lifeguarding skills by attending emergency medical technician school. He heard about an internship position at the Cosumnes CSD Fire Department and something inside him told him this was his chance to pursue his passion. With an excellent foundation, hard work and dedication, Munsey rose to become a Cosumnes Fire intern and recently graduated from the program.

The Cosumnes Fire internship proved to be an enriching experience for Munsey. “Being a Fire intern is rewarding, similar to lifeguarding, that you show up right when things are bad, and people give you the thing they care about most,” he shares. Munsey’s desire to make a positive impact on people’s lives drives him to be his best self every day.

To hear more from Pattenaude and Munsey, tune in to the March bonus episode of Open Space Radio.

Craig Pattenaude is Marketing and Communications Specialist for Cosumnes Community Services District Parks and Recreation.