A young East Hampton Town lifeguard is receiving praise for a good deed at the Surf Club in Montauk last week -- helping a 94-year-old woman with limited mobility see the waves.
A letter written by the woman’s family highlighting Shane McCann’s helpful attitude received attention on social media after McCann’s mother shared it on Facebook.
Janet Dunne, of Bethel, Connecticut, said in the letter that she visits Montauk annually with her sister-in-law and mother, Tracy, but getting her mother on the sand has become a challenge as she’s gotten older.
“Every year we go thinking it may be the last,” Dunne said.
Dunne said during their visit between June 27 and July 1, they were able to get her mother to the pool for a few hours a day, but Tracy Dunne, of Pleasantville in Westchester County still wanted to see the waves. Montauk lifeguard stands offer beach wheelchairs on a first-come, first-served basis, but the closest lifeguard stand was out of them when Janet Dunne inquired on June 30.
That’s when Dunne said the young lifeguard who was on duty at the time offered a different solution.
McCann, 19, of Springs, drove a beach buggy to the family’s hotel to pick up Dunne’s mother and took her out onto the sand to spend a few hours in the sun. Then, about 4 p.m., he picked up Tracy Dunne and gave her a ride back to her hotel.
“The look on my mom’s face was something I will never forget and this made our vacation,” Dunne wrote. “If all of Montauk’s lifeguards are this wonderful, you are a very lucky town to have them.”
McCann said for him, it was just another day on the job. He said he’s worked as a lifeguard for the East Hampton Town for four years and has been stationed at Montauk for three.
Occasionally the lifeguards get asked to help out older or disabled visitors, and he said he always jumps at the chance to help another person enjoy the beach.
“I knew it would make the woman’s day nice, so it was a good opportunity,” McCann, said. “It’s always a great reaction.”
The experience inspired Dunne to write a thank-you letter and send it to the Montauk Chamber of Commerce, which had directed her to Dunne’s lifeguard station.
McCann’s mother, Jenna McCann, shared the text of the letter on Facebook on July 14, writing that she was a “very proud mom.” The post, which included a photo of Tracy Dunne beaming in the passenger seat of the vehicle, was shared more than 100 times and received more than 150 likes.
“This is something special, I really did make that lady’s day,” Shane McCann said. “I’ve never seen someone so happy to be able to do what they wanted.”