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City of Peoria Press Release

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Drowning Prevention Coalition Honors Peoria Spokesman

For Mike Tellef, Water Safety Is a Year-Round Message


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.

“Drowning incidents, 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:

  1. BLOCK – Have a pool fence in place and make sure it’s in good working condition.

  2. WATCH – Constant eye-to-eye supervision really is the only way to prevent a drowning.

  3. LEARN – Learn CPR and have all non-swimmers take swimming lessons.

Coalition President 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 safety.


VIDEO LINK: Mike Tellef anchors a public-service announcement about water safety. http://peoriaaz.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=161