Pawtucket Veterans Pool opens Saturday, local teens and first responders serve as lifeguards

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WLNE) — Families at Pawtucket’s Veterans Memorial Park pool splashed into summer Saturday for the pools opening.

Pool Director Orlando Deandrade told ABC6 he couldn’t wait to get to work and open the doors for the kids he’s known for the past 11 years while working for Parks and Recreation.

Back in 2021, the City struggled to find lifeguards which delayed the pools opening. Pawtucket’s firefighters and police officers stepped up to do the job, lifeguarding on their days off.

“I run into people that I’ve seen like, last year and I get to make new friends every time I come here,” said 8-year-old Sean Dessert.

This year, first responders will still help out when needed, but officials said they’ve seen a slight increase in teens who want to work and be there for the younger generation.

A city spokesperson said although they’ve made hires, there still are not enough lifeguards to support the typical hours of the pool. Due to this, Pawtucket Police and Fire Departments offered to provide 30 volunteers to serve as lifeguards in order to keep the pool open and operating.

“Growing up, I was helping my little brother take swim classes and stuff like that,” said Scott Palardy, a senior at Saint Rays High School.

“I just want to help different kids get the opportunity to have what he had.”

When Palardy found out the City would pay for his lifeguard certification classes, he knew he wanted to make the most of it.

“I just want to give a big shoutout to them, you know, they helped me out and they gave me a great opportunity.”

Palardy urged his friends and classmates to do the same.

“It’s the best helping kids out you know, our community, we all live around here and I just want to help all the kids.”

The pool is open from July 2nd through August 21st from Monday and Thursday from noon to 5 p.m. and Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Free lunches are provided on weekdays from 12:30 to 1:30, weather permitting.

“Thanks to our Public Safety team and their willingness to provide that positive impact on the community, we will once again be able to provide suitable hours for the pool to be open,” said Mayor Donald Grebien.

“We understand how much it means to our community to have this facility open, and with so few individuals who were interested in the position, we can’t provide adequate hours for the pool to be open during the summer without Police and Fire stepping up.”

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