Source : nwfdailynews.com
By : JULIE HATFIELD
Category : Hotel Marketing Florida
Dan Debri remembers well his first beach rescue of the season. Easter weekend had just ended and most of the crowd had gone home, but he kept his eye on a father and two sons in the Gulf. The family was standing on a sandbar — safely, they thought. Debri knew better. “It was one of the worst rescues of the summer,” he said. “I don’t think he knew how to swim, and his boys didn’t, either.” Debri, whose job at the Best Western Fort Walton Beachfront is to set up chairs and umbrellas, hopped in his one-man kayak and rescued the flailing family. It was his first three of 41 rescues this year, including five Saturday. “They were panicking,” he said. “The father was trying to hold his son up. The dad was turning white in the face. “I just pulled them all onto my kayak,” Debri said. “Basically, that’s what I did all summer.” Toni Richardson, director of sales and marketing for Best Western, said the hotel’s staff was unaware of how many rescues Debri had made or how he had become the “concierge of the beach.”
Then they started reading reviews on TripAdvisor.com and Medallia and discovered that Debri had been “giving advice on places to eat, local attractions, the weather forecast and educating the children about the beach and its beauty,” Richardson said. “We’re really very proud of him,” she said. “When you have someone on the team who goes over and above like that, it really does mean a whole lot.” Debri, whose deep tan and blond highlights reflect his 7-day-a-week job, said most of his rescues weren’t even guests at his hotel. Currents pushed other hotels’ guests toward him. He often doesn’t learn the names of people he rescues. “Usually, they’re in shock. They’re embarrassed and they disappear,” he said. Debri said the rip current that plagued his stretch of beach is almost gone, something he can tell by watching the waves break. Swim in areas where waves are breaking uniformly in a long horizontal stretch. Waves break because there’s a sandbar, and spots where the waves are “mushy” can indicate the presence of a rip current. Avoid areas where a chunk of the shoreline is eroded. That also indicates a rip current.
Source : nwfdailynews.com/local/concierge-of-the-beach-also-is-a-life-saver-1.203305?page=2