Wausau woman starts petition for lifeguard at Sunny Vale - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wausau woman starts petition for Sunny Vale lifeguard after water death


Some people in Wausau want to bring lifeguards to Sunny Vale Park after a man died in the lake there this past weekend. But county leaders said lifeguards aren't necessary.

Sunday's death at the manmade lake in Sunny Vale Park stunned some people in Wausau into action.

"It scared me," said Michelle Pelletier, who lives in Wausau. "It made me worried for my kids. It made me worried about anyone who's out there swimming."

Pelletier swims at Sunny Vale with her three children. She started a petition saying she'd feel safer with a lifeguard on duty.

"Even if somebody's drowning and you're a great swimmer, you can't necessarily save them without the proper tools and training," said Pelletier.

Her goal -- collect 100 online signatures and take her case to the county.

"I've been with Marathon County for 25 years and during that period of time, we have not had any drownings inside our established swimming areas," said Marathon County parks director Bill Duncanson.

Duncanson said none of Marathon County's parks has lifeguards and they don't need them. Each swimming area has a section roped off -- marked with buoys -- where he said its safe to swim. Duncanson said his crew takes stock of the water, making sure it's safe. But that doesn't mean people should let their guard down.

"Water can be very dangerous," said Duncanson. "I think people don't appreciate how dangerous it is. People don't appreciate how fast you can get in trouble, particularly in deep water."

Despite the defenses already in place, Pelletier said she wants to see change -- to make swimming safer for everyone.

"If somebody does decide to swim out farther, whether it be an adult or a kid, someone's there to give rescue help immediately," said Pelletier.

Regardless of who else is on the lookout, people on both sides say swimmers should help each other and be aware of their surroundings.

The Marathon County parks department will be helping put on a workshop this weekend to teach children water safety. To find out about that, you can click on this link.

If you want to see the petition for lifeguards at Sunny Vale Park, you can click on this link.

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