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By C. Jayden Smith
The Exchange Club of San Clemente on Thursday, May 19, recognized two of the city’s lifeguards, Raselle Chetwynd and Jaden Blanc-Hall, for their service to the community, naming each of them as Lifeguard of the Year for 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Chetwynd, who first joined the City of San Clemente’s Marine Safety team in 2014 alongside Blanc-Hall, became the first woman to receive the peer-nominated honor in the award’s 42-year existence. Over the years, the two have climbed the ranks to become ocean lifeguard supervisors.
Members of the Exchange Club gathered with city officials, dignitaries and the honorees’ fellow lifeguards at the San Clemente Community Center for the annual awards ceremony, which marked a return to normal traditions after a pandemic-induced hiatus.
Both honorees were presented with a new custom Terry Senate surfboard inscribed with their name, a plaque by the San Clemente Exchange Club, and a custom piece of art painted by local artist Kelan O’Brien.
Mayor Gene James presented Chetwynd and Blanc-Hall with mayoral challenge coins and gave a speech in recognition of their achievement. James was joined by his fellow councilmembers, City Manager Erik Sund, and Samantha Wylie, the city’s Beaches, Parks, and Recreation director.
Marine Safety Capt. Rod Mellot spoke about the two honorees, sharing that they are exemplary members of the Marine Safety Division and contribute valuable skills to the team.
“The City of San Clemente is honored to have these two extraordinary Ocean Lifeguard Supervisors on its Marine Safety team who exemplify professionalism, an unwavering commitment to safety, and demonstrate bravery while protecting our San Clemente beaches,” the city wrote in a media release.
C. Jayden Smith
C. Jayden Smith graduated from Dana Hills High in 2018 before pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in digital and broadcast journalism from the University of North Texas. After graduating in December 2020, he reported for the Salina Journal in Salina, Kansas. Jayden loves college football and bothering his black lab named Shadow.