CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. — A Hernando County Scout is going above and beyond to try to help prevent drownings.
With some help, Jesse K has made it his mission to personally install life-ring stations at local boat ramps and county parks. A mission that is helping save lives.
“When I saw this, it caught my eye,” Jesse said. “I loved it.”
A Life Scout, which is just below an Eagle Scout, Jesse said being on the water is like being home. Only he’s making it safer so that others can feel that way, too.
“I always wanted to do something with the water,” said Jesse, a senior at Springstead High School. “I wasn’t too sure what, but when I saw one of these, it was borderline what I had in mind already.”
Jesse has made it his mission to install life-ring stations throughout Hernando County.
Each station is outfitted with a ring and some directions. He’s had help along the way, working with the county and the builder of that first station he saw.
“I was going to get the dimensions and completely build these myself,” says Jesse. “And (county officials) asked me how many I was going to do. At the time, my plan was six across a few parks in Hernando County, and he said he’d actually be open to donating these stations on behalf of Surfing Evolution & Preservation and Drown Zero.”
So far, Jesse has installed 14 stations at county parks and boat ramps. They require a bit of maintenance.
“Like you see Adopt-A-Road and Adopt-A-Park where a company can help the county — me and the county agreed to do an Adopt-A-Station program which we’re starting to work towards which helps maintain these,” he said.
Since Jesse started his work, he has run into a few issues. Mostly, people stealing the life-rings or using them the wrong way.
“These things are just as valuable and important as a fire extinguisher or an AED,” Jesse said. “If you ever see anybody using these inappropriately, please let them know it’s not a toy. If you see anybody take them, please correct their mistake and please report it because this is very important to the people here.”
But the good is far outweighing the bad, as a surprise lies ahead on one particular check-in.
“One of the best things I just noticed with this one is the woggle is actually up here, which we did not install them this way,” said Jesse. “That shows me that this one was actually used so that makes me feel very good about this one. I’m glad that this one most likely saved a life.”
Jesse takes his effort seriously, helping to save lives on the water.
“If we can save one life, all of this is worth it,” he said. “And I’ll be very happy about that.”