A 95-year-old woman who lives in Washington, D.C., gets one week each summer to go to the beach and spend time with family and friends after all the city’s lifeguards leave.
Christina Dale-Savage of Indianapolis was growing up on vacation, she told WVLY 13 in Indianapolis, so when she was asked by city officials to help lead a summer camp for children, she couldn’t say no.
At 93, she met the city’s director of beaches, Bill Earnhardt, and was awarded a lifeguard watch and tasked with helping ensure that lifeguards’ watches were up at times like the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. Earnhardt told Dale-Savage she’d get to spend one week a summer at Oceanfront Beach Park in Washington so she could be reunited with family, enjoy food, and meet other fellow travelers.
“I just want to be out at sea with the girls and kids. It’s so beautiful,” Dale-Savage said.
She’s been doing that every day ever since.
“She comes with a purpose of giving back to the community and being part of a certain group,” Earnhardt told WVLY 13. “[She] has a warm heart, a caring heart.”
Paid for by the city of Washington, D.C., Dale-Savage drives every morning around 5 a.m. and heads to Oceanfront, where she learns the swimming techniques of the city’s staff. The city asks her to dress appropriately so she won’t stick out in a sea of bathing suits, and she checks the state code regarding her safety because she’s not officially certified.
After that, she shows up every day for a week, just as she always has. She follows the routine, the rules, and the drills: Swim lessons, playing games and playing beach volleyball.
One day, when a 13-year-old boy tried to tell her the rules to volleyball, she did what she always does: She told him, “The rules are rude,” according to WVLY 13.
On the last day of her vacation, on Wednesday, that boy stood and cried in the water as she carried him to shore. She told WVLY 13 that he would be coming to her home later that week for lunch.
“He must have been crying because he was so happy,” Dale-Savage said. “I was proud of him. I just said, ‘I need to take a picture and send it to my husband and tell him it’s great.’”