PEORIA, Ariz. (Aug.
9, 2010) – The Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona has honored Peoria
public safety spokesman Mike Tellef with its Linda S. Kirby WATER Award for his
big heart and passion for child injury prevention.
The WATER Award is for
individuals who consistently hold up the tenets of the award: Willing,
Attentive, Tenacious, Enthusiastic, Resourceful.
Tellef “has dedicated
countless hours of his time to educate the public through events, media and
community outreach, as well as serving as a resource and support for
water-safety advocates across the state,” the coalition said in a statement
accompanying the award.
especially those involving kids, are so preventable and occur only because
caregivers are not properly supervising them when around water,” Tellef says.
“Hopefully, by giving the water-safety message out all 12 months of the year –
not just the traditional swimming months – we can prevent these unnecessary,
tragic incidents from occurring. I have seen so many lives and families
destroyed by these incidents that I feel I need to say what the kids don’t know
how to say, and that is, ‘Watch me.’”
He asks parents and
caregivers to remember the three rules of water safety:
BLOCK – Have a pool
fence in place and make sure it’s in good working condition.
WATCH – Constant
eye-to-eye supervision really is the only way to prevent a drowning.
LEARN – Learn CPR and
have all non-swimmers take swimming lessons.
Lori Schmidt and board member Linda S. Kirby, for whom the award is named,
surprised Tellef with the honor at the Peoria Police Department’s National Night
Out open house and ice cream social on Tuesday, Aug. 3.
Tellef has worked in
public safety for Peoria for more than three decades as a police officer,
community relations official and public information officer. He serves on the
coalition’s advisory council and is a past president of the National Information
Officers Association and Safe Kids Maricopa County.
“This award is a big
deal because it recognizes Mike’s deep involvement in the community, and how he
always puts the community first,” said Peoria Police Chief Larry Ratcliff.
“Working in the city of Peoria is more than a job for Mike.”
The Drowning Prevention
Coalition, a community-based organization comprising parents, health and safety
professionals and business leaders, seeks to prevent drowning and near drowning
through the promotion of education, legislative action and enhanced product
VIDEO LINK: Mike Tellef
anchors a public-service announcement about water safety.