By Eric Heinz

Having served as one of the only liaisons to the San Clemente Marine Division in New Zealand and employed by the city for more than seven years, Taylor Mellinger was named the Lifeguard of the Year on Thursday, Sept. 27.

The award is selected by fellow lifeguards and is hosted by the Exchange Club of San Clemente and the City of San Clemente. Rainbow Sandals and Conrad & Associates Realtors also sponsored the event.

Mellinger’s peers said that he was exceptional at guiding incoming lifeguards and teaching them techniques of the popular summer trade.

Tod Mellinger receives the Lifeguard of the Year Award from the Exchange Club of San Clemente and the City of San Clemente for his efforts this year. An award ceremony was hosted Thursday, Sept. 27, at the San Clemente Municipal Golf Course. Photo: Eric Heinz
Tod Mellinger receives the Lifeguard of the Year Award from the Exchange Club of San Clemente and the City of San Clemente for his efforts this year. An award ceremony was hosted Thursday, Sept. 27, at the San Clemente Municipal Golf Course. Photo: Eric Heinz

“We feel like he’s been doing an incredible job showing the new lifeguards…how to improve and be the best guards that we can be,” said Jacob Gerhard, who said he’s worked with Mellinger for two years. “He’s just so encouraging and supportive, and no matter what he’ll always tell you how you can be better.”

Mellinger said he is from Laguna Beach, but chose to work in San Clemente when he first became a lifeguard.

Mellinger received a surfboard, a painting of himself, Rainbow sandals and other miscellaneous gifts as part of his award for Lifeguard of the Year.

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