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Letter: Lifeguards deserve raise, contract

A lifeguard participates in the Jones Beach Lifeguard

A lifeguard participates in the Jones Beach Lifeguard Tournament. (July 17, 2012) Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa

As we reflect on superstorm Sandy's devastation, our awareness of the ocean's power has been reignited ["Rockin' for relief," News, Dec. 13].

Although the warmer months seem so far away, Long Islanders will return to the beaches this summer, trusting their lives under the watchful eyes of state lifeguards. Thousands will be saved from the ocean's indiscriminate waves and currents in 2013, safely returned to shore by professional rescuers.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's office will face tough decisions in allocating that federal aid to our coastal areas. But within our state budget, will the lifeguards yet again fall through the cracks? After more than 10 years without a raise or contract, when will the lifeguards be appreciated the way police, firefighters and emergency service workers are?

Sandy awakened us to our vulnerability to the sea; it's time we honored those who protect us.

Andrew Netter, Bay Shore

Editor's note: The writer is a member of the Jones Beach Lifeguard Corps.