Hawaiian Falls Waterparks recently announced a partnership with Jeff Ellis & Associates Inc. (E & A) the world leader in aquatic safety. E & A works with more than 600 clients worldwide and will provide the industry leading International Lifeguard Training Program® (ILTP®) to Hawaiian Falls.
By David Alvey
Hawaiian Falls Roanoke second-year lifeguard Joseph Morin was scanning his zone in the Lazy River on a busy Saturday afternoon when he spotted what he hoped to never see: a body floating face down in the water.
“I didn’t have time to be scared,” said Morin, 18, a 2015 graduate of Northwest High School in Justin. “I just knew I had to get her and I had to get there quickly.”
Morin immediately blew his whistle to sound an alarm so the rest of the water safety team came running. The response team included 18-year-old Emergency Medical Technician Cameron Davis, 19-year-old Lifeguard Lead Brendan O’Malley and 24-year-old Lifeguard Supervisor Hannah Decker, who arrived on the scene almost simultaneously with General Manager Jay Jenson.
Denise Valentine of Roanoke was with Jones in the river when the rescue happened. She reached out to Roanoke Mayor Carl “Scooter” Gierisch via social media.
“Mayor Gierisch, I just want you to know about an incident that happened right here in Roanoke at Hawaiian Falls last weekend,” wrote Valentine. “We were there for about four hours and were taking one last ride on the slow river when my friend had a seizure. She slipped off her son’s float and went under water. At first we thought she was just playing with her son. Then he yelled, ‘my mom’s having a seizure!’ I had never seen her have one, but she had told me of her history. I immediately turned and saw her face down in the water. I grabbed her and pulled her up out of the water. A man (who identified himself as an off-duty police officer) was there with his daughter and turned to help, also. A lifeguard jumped in right away, and the three of us got her up onto the side. I don’t remember how everybody got there so soon, but the [Hawaiian Falls] manager, Jay, and his staff was suddenly surrounding us. Jay started talking to the boy, asking him harmless questions to divert him from the scary scene with his mother. His staff was well trained and helped bring her out of her stupor.”
Mayor Gierisch and the Roanoke City Council recognized the Hawaiian Falls water safety team at the August 25th council meeting. Mayor Gierisch read a Proclamation that stated (in part): “Whereas these employees deserve our sincere thanks, recognition, and praise for their quick and brave response, excellent judgment and professionalism in the line of duty. Now therefore, the Roanoke City Council does hereby acknowledge and sincerely thank Brendan O’Malley, Hannah Decker, Joseph Morin, Cameron Davis and Jay Jenson for their life saving efforts and service to our community.”
Near the end of the ceremony, Megan Jones unexpectedly arrived to meet the team who had rescued her.
“I just remember their faces,” recalled Jones, who recalls waking up, but said the details are still foggy. “I’m grateful they were there,” she said.
All Hawaiian Falls Water Safety personnel are trained and certified by the National Aquatic Safety Company (NASCO). Hawaiian Falls continually tests and trains the lifeguards throughout the summer. In an emergency, people don’t have time to think about what they should do. When properly trained, they immediately react based on their training.
When asked what it was like to see Jones again, Morin replied, “Seeing her perfectly fine, and she’s laughing and happy, it gives me peace.”
Hawaiian Falls operates water parks in Garland, The Colony, Mansfield, Roanoke and Waco. In addition, Hawaiian Falls has combination water park – adventure park – event centers in Pflugerville and White Settlement. Hawaiian Falls water parks are open weekends only thru Labor Day. More info at www.hfalls.com or facebook.com/hfalls
Todd Unger, WFAA
ROANOKE — A young mother is alive thanks to the quick thinking — and even quicker action — of a group of lifeguards at a Hawaiian Falls water park.
Megan Jones was spending a Saturday with her friends and eight-year-old son at the park when she suffered a seizure in the Lazy River.
“I remember seeing their faces when I woke up, but I don’t remember anything else,” she said.
The faces belonged to a team of lifeguards and park employees who helped save the woman.
Joseph Morin jumped into the river when he noticed Jones face down about 20 feet from his post.
“‘I gotta get her and get her now… get to her as soon as possible.’ That is what I was thinking,” the 18-year-old said.
With the help of an unidentified off-duty police officer, Morin pulled the woman to shore.
That’s when 18-year-old Cameron Davis arrived. The emergency medical technician had rushed across the entire park.
“I was just thinking, ‘Is she getting air? And if she is, is it enough to sustain her life?”‘ Davis recalled.
Jones eventually came to, and was treated at the scene.
At Tuesday night’s Roanoke City Council meeting, an entire team of Hawaiian Falls personnel — including Morin, Davis and lifeguards Brendan O’Malley and Hannah Decker — were honored for their work two weeks ago.
Megan Jones also made a surprise appearance, hugging and thanking the crew who helped rescue her.
“I’m just so grateful,” she said.
Story and photos by David Alvey.
DALLAS, TX. (August 5, 2015) Hawaiian Falls hosted Champions Day at all five of its North Texas water parks for children and adults with special needs or medical issues. The “Champions” (individuals with special needs) were admitted free. Family members and caregiver were offered discounted tickets.
Lisa Kirkwood of The Colony commented that her special needs daughter Frankie, 30, wouldn’t be there on a regular operating day because the normal hustle and bustle would be overly stimulating. Mrs. Kirkwood said Frankie came rushing over after riding the first slide and said she’d already made a new friend. Read More»
Philip Townsend, WFAA
WHITE SETTLEMENT — There were all the elements of a perfect day at Hawaiian Falls in White Settlement Wednesday.
Slides, splashes and laughter were impossible to miss Wednesday afternoon. But for Amy Weatherford and her three boys, it represented so much more.
“We’re making new memories,” 12-year-old Chris Weatherford said. “It’s pretty cool.” Read More»
If you want to learn how to use your Workplace Ministry, you’ll want to join us for Coffee With Jon and David Busch.
Take a break, and join us for a cup of coffee. Read More»
Hawaiian Falls Waco waterpark received a $5,000 donation from Dallas-based Van Wey Law in memory of a young drowning victim.
The financial gift, which is designated for water safety, will enable Hawaiian Falls to offer free swim lessons Aug. 3-13 for disadvantaged children ages 3 to 13.
Kay Van Wey, a personal injury attorney and owner of Van Wey Law, represented Yoshicka Calhoun, the mother of 12-year-old drowning victim Sir’Lemuel Calhoun, in a lawsuit after Sir’Lemuel drowned at an area park in June 2014.
Van Wey presented the check to Hawaiian Falls Waco general manager Shawn Welch, who said Hawaiian Falls has hosted swim lessons for years and makes water safety a priority.
“We want to support organizations like Hawaiian Falls that create and promote a culture of safety,” Van Wey said.
Mission Waco is working with Hawaiian Falls to identify and reach out to families in need of the free swim lessons.
To register for the free lessons, contact Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 892-0222.
BY TIM ROBERTS
THE COLONY, TX — Nothing says summer like a trip to a water park, but this wasn’t just another fun in the sun day. The Fourth Annual Splash Out Childhood Cancer slid into Hawaiian Falls in the Colony.
The event is put on by the Team Connor Childhood Cancer Foundation, named for Connor Cruse, who died of neuroblastoma when he was just eight.
“It’s so inspiring that Connor’s life meant something. Connor didn’t die for nothing,” said Carolyn Alvey, the board president of Team Connor.
It’s been six years since Connor passed away, but his legacy can be seen in the life of six-year-old Charlie, who is fighting Leukemia.
“Charlie was diagnosed when he was three,” his mother Lacy Gladu said. “So, we’ve been dealing with this for several year now, and we still have one more year to go of Chemo. He’s doing really great, but it’s definitely a challenge.”
A challenge that Team Connor is helping them take head on.
“Team Connor is a fantastic organization because they are really making a difference in the lives of kids because no family should ever have to deal with these kinds of problems,” said Gladu.
It’s a hard fight for sure, but it’s one they plan on winning.
And thanks to the life and inspiration of Connor Cruse, Charlie and thousands of other kids just like him, have a better chance of splashing out cancer for good.
Hawaiian Falls Water Park & Adventure Park in White Settlement has added the Waikiki Wipeout Zone to challenge kids and young adults. I recently took a 12-year-old and a pair of 15-year-old boys to try out the new attractions.
The Waikiki Wipeout Zone features three inflatable challenge courses:
• Kapow is a circular, multiplayer obstacle course with two unique sets of rotating boom arms. One arm is designed to hit players about thigh level, spinning counterclockwise, while the other rotating arm spins in the opposite direction aiming for the players’ chest, both designed to knock over the players. At the start of the race, both contenders begin in their own lanes, each dodging the rotating boom arms and other challenging inflatable obstacles. Since the course is designed in a circular maze, each contender doubles back on themselves three times. Kapow tests a players agility as well as stamina as they attempt to beat their opponent.
• Meltdown can accommodate up to eight players per game in a challenge of agility, stamina and reaction time. With two rotating boom arms, each contender must make split-second decisions to either duck beneath the arm or attempt to jump over it. The suspense increases with each rotation of the arms and with rapid changes in speed and direction. Who will be the last one standing?
• Toxic Rampage is a 2-person race through seven sets of challenges that each contender must overcome in order to be the winner, culminating by climbing Meltdown Mountain and sliding down the other side.
The cost for the Waikiki Wipeout Zone is $5 for two attractions or $10 for unlimited play. Fortunately, I had the foresight to choose unlimited play because the boys wanted to go again and again. Finally, after they played on the Waikiki Wipeout Zone for over an hour, we went into the Adventure Park, which offers a multi-level Family Adventure Trail with nine rope bridges and five towers; a 70-foot high, 1000-foot long Zip Line; a three-level Ropes Challenge Course with 45 different activities; a six-story Free Fall; 30-foot Climbing Wall; and 30-foot Cargo Net Climb.
The Adventure Park activities are all included in the price of admission for the Water Park (regular $26.99 per person.) Since my boys have season passes, there was no extra charge for any of the water park or adventure park attractions.
After tackling all 15 different ropes activities on each of the three levels, ranging from two-feet to 60-feet off the ground for a total of 45 distinct challenges, the boys climbed a 60-foot tower and each jumped off the six-story Free Fall, which lets you experience the sensation of free falling several stories before the auto-belay system engages and gently lowers you to the ground.
Even after all those adrenaline-pumping attractions, the boys wanted to return to play on Waikiki Wipeout Zone for another half hour before cooling off in the Lazy River. Then, after about an hour of playing in the water park, they begged me to return to the Waikiki Wipeout Zone for another few rounds.
On the ride home, I asked the boys which were their favorite activities. While they rated the Ropes Challenge Course number one, they all agreed the Waikiki Wipeout Zone was worth the trip even if they hadn’t done all the other fun activities.
Check out this short video of the Waikiki Wipeout Zone at http://youtu.be/8CJkh328P58
Hawaiian Falls White Settlement is located near the intersection of Clifford Street and N. Las Vegas Trail, next to Veteran’s Park, two miles north of Interstate 30 off of Loop 820.
Hawaiian Falls operates water parks in Garland, The Colony, Mansfield, Roanoke and Waco. In addition, Hawaiian Falls has combination water park – adventure park – event centers in Pflugerville and White Settlement. More info at www.hfalls.com or facebook.com/hfalls.
Hawaiian Falls will honor active duty military members, veterans and first responders withHeroes Week, July 5 – 10, 2015, at all seven Texas water parks and adventure parks. The Heroes, including military, firefighters, police and emergency medical personnel will be admitted free Sunday through Friday, July 5 – 10, with a valid ID card and a coupon, which can downloaded at www.hfalls.com/special-offers. The heroes’ family members can purchase discounted tickets for $19.99 each (regularly $26.99) at the front gate of any of the seven parks. Read More»