by Elise Vondra
PARDEE TOWER – Freshman Jeremy Gladen wakes up every morning with a purpose- to ensure the safety of his peers. Gladen worked as a lifeguard at his local pool this summer, and for him, lifeguarding wasn’t simply a way to make some money to buy booze and weed during the school year. It was a way of life.
“When the Red Cross certified me in Lifeguarding, CPR, and First Aid, they gave me a duty,” Gladen boasted. “Saving lives doesn’t stop when school starts.”
Around campus, Gladen is always wearing sunglasses, a swimsuit, and of course, a whistle. The vigilante frequently perches himself near the fountain in campus center and scans the water intensely.
“You don’t need big waves to get into trouble,” Gladen yells over the mediocre piano playing. “It only takes 4 inches to drown, and that’s not happening on my watch, goddamnit!”
Even though the clocks have been set back for the winter, Gladen still wears zinc on his nose and a tank top to class. Whenever he sees someone running to class or riding a skateboard, he jumps into action, promptly yelling “WALK SWEETIE” to the perpetrator. The savior then smiles, knowing he just saved another life.
Every night before he goes to bed, Gladen warns the patrons that there is no longer a lifeguard on duty, flips a sign above his head, and closes his eyes, knowing the the school deck was a little safer with his presence.