Lifeguard passes on decades of skill

Red Cross instructor made his first water rescue 70 years ago

Lifeguard trainer Albert Cahill's first water rescue came when he was 12 years old.

A child was riding his bike on a small bridge in rural New Jersey, Cahill said, when he fell of his bicycle into the water. The child had fallen into a swampy area and clearly could not keep afloat. Cahill dove in to pull out the drowning boy before ever having any lifeguard training

When I got home did I get it. My mom gave me hell for it," he said.

During his rescue, Cahill had ruined a new pair of knickers, much to his mother's dismay. Even after a local councilman called his mother to tell her he would be recognized for his act of heroism, she told the official that it doesn't make up for the ruined pants.

At 82 years old, Cahill is passing on years of knowledge and experience to others as a lifeguard instructor for the American Red Cross. Certified as a water safety instructor in 1944, at 16 years old, Cahill is one of the longest tenured lifeguards in the Capital District.

He will be running a program at the Shaker High School pool, beginning Monday evening, Feb. 22, through May 10.

Cahill spent his career in broadcasting and worked on various radio and television shows covering sports. He had a notable bowling program in the 1960s and '70s. He served in the Marines from 1945 to 1949, and was a World War II veteran. He graduated from Ithaca College and has lived in the Capital District since 1962.

Cahill was a co-founder of the Red Cross National Aquatic School.

The lifeguard classes at Shaker will run from 6 to 10 p.m., each Monday, except for the spring break week of April 5.

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