2024 Water Safety Award Winners

2024 Award Winners

The 2024 National Water Safety Conference (NWSC)  award winners represent some of the best of the drowning prevention and water safety community. Their achievements highlight the diverse and impactful ways individuals and organizations can contribute to water safety. NDPA congratulates all the winners and expresses its deepest gratitude for their unwavering commitment to preventing drowning.

Community Lifesaver Award Winners

Each year, NDPA asks for submissions for the Community Lifesaver of Year Awards from community members. NDPA wants to recognize exceptional work in the advancement of drowning prevention at the community level. With this award, we honor individuals or organizations that have advanced the efforts of drowning prevention in the United States during the year. This year, we awarded 4 individuals and one organization. One of the honorees is Heather Welsh-Johnson. She has helped further water safety in her community of Florida and is working to help draft a water safety education bill for Michigan.

Dr. Adam Katchmarchi (NDPA CEO), Dr. Molly Johnson, David Zane, and Pam Cannell (NDPA President)
from Left to Right

Two of the other honorees work together in Texas to bring groundbreaking research into understanding the drowning rates in their state. Dr. Molly Johnson and David Zane are individuals who are both contributing to multiple other water safety and drowning prevention research efforts in Texas and beyond. Officer Pierce Krouse is a Lincoln Police Officer who valiantly saved a woman in a lake who had fallen out of her kayak. Finally, the CAST Water Safety Organization is honored as an award winner for their work as a non-profit organization who along with their partners safeguards children with self-rescue skills and empowers families with water safety education. 

Dr. Adam Katchmarchi (NDPA CEO) and Liz Huber (CAST Founder & Director)

President’s and Ripple Award Winners

The President’s Award is given only when the NDPA President in consultation with the NDPA Executive Committee feels there is a candidate that is deserving of recognition for their efforts in drowning prevention and water safety. The Global Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Rotary Club was honored with this award. This cause-based club has brought together water safety professionals in 17 countries and most continents to expand access to quality swimming lessons. They have programs to help collect and reuse equipment to help teach swimming lessons. They have launched the Swimming Gift initiative that invites Rotary clubs to donate money to help provide funds for teaching swimming lessons. 

Dr. Adam Katchmarchi (NDPA CEO), Alina Graham (GWSDPRC President), Pam Cannell (NDPA President)

Rob Williams is this year’s Ripple Award winner. This award is chosen from a pool of candidates recommended to the Board of Directors for NDPA. It is only awarded on select years to an individual or group whose involvement or cause has created a ripple that has influenced others to become more aware of water safety or become more involved in drowning prevention. Rob is the retired Chief Lifeguard for the Newport Beach Fire Department, Marine Operations Division. During his time there, he was involved in training of both new and returning employees, developing curriculum to meet local, state, and federal standards. Rob’s work has created great momentum to continue his water safety efforts within California. 

Lifesaver of the Year and DEI Award

The recipient of the Lifesaver of the Year Award is chosen in a two-step open voting process. The first round is the nomination round via social media like Facebook in which any person can submit their nominee. Following, the NDPA Conference Committee reviews the nominations and moves a maximum of 10 nominees to the second round of open voting via NDPA social media. This year, we honored Anna Alan-Clapp. Anna goes above and beyond her regular duties as a swimming instructor. She devotes 6 days a week to teaching kids how to love and respect the water. She teaches people of all ages from 4 months old to 80 year old grandmas who want to learn, including those who have special needs! Anna has done great work outside of the pool too. Anna works with parents and guardians to impart daily the importance of swimming year-round and keeping her community safer. 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are incredibly important and NDPA is able to honor Kori DelaPena. Kori is honored for her work as a philanthropic leader and former communications professional who has focused her public service in the non-profit arena addressing child drowning prevention in Texas. Kori works with the non-profit Life Like Cati organization. This is a child drowning prevention organization that provides free life jackets to the public together with water safety education and advocacy. Along with her husband, John, they has successfully passed the first water safety legislation in child care administration that will require life jackets on identified non-swimmers in a summer camp. Written as Cati’s law, in honor of their six year old daughter who drowned under the care of a summer camp in 2019, this was signed into law on June 1st, 2023. This DEI award is annually awarded to an individual, group, or organization who has made an impact increasing awareness of equality and disparity issues related to water safety in the United States. 

Dr. Adam Katchmarchi (NDPA CEO), John DelaPena, Kori DelaPena, Pam Cannell (NDPA President)
From Left to Right

Lifetime Achievement Award

Awarded only on select years, the Lifetime Achievement Award is chosen by the NDPA Executive Committee in consultation with the NDPA Board of Directors. This is given only when the NDPA leadership feels there is a candidate that is deserving of recognition in drowning prevention and water safety. Bob Pratt is this year’s award winner. Bob has dedicated his life to water safety and drowning prevention. He has a diverse career that spans roles as a paramedic, firefighters, lifeguard instructor, and more. His efforts include co-founding the Great Lake Surf Rescue Project. They advocate for lifeguard presence on beaches, and leading initiatives to place rescue equipment along the Great Lakes. Bob continues to be a beacon of guidance and inspiration within the water safety community. 

Dr. Adam Katchmarchi (NDPA CEO), Bob Pratt, Pam Cannell (NDPA President)

The 2024 NWSC award winners represent some of the best advocates, voices, and work being done within the water safety community. Their achievements highlight the diverse and impactful ways individuals and organizations can contribute to make a difference. We hope you join us in celebrating these wonderful folks and we look forward to progressing our efforts for positive change in the drowning rates.