HALLANDALE BEACH, Florida -- July 7, 2012
The lifeguard who was fired for leaving his post to help rescue a man outside his patrol area will be given a key to the city of Hallandale Beach in honor of his actions.
Tomas Lopez will be issued a symbolic key at a ceremony on Monday. The distressed swimmer he assisted will also be in attendance.
Jeff Ellis Management, the firm that provides lifeguarding services for the city, has apologized for firing Lopez and offered him his job back. Lopez declined the offer, saying he wanted to focus on his studies and look for other opportunities.
Witnesses pulled the drowning swimmer to shore and Lopez and an off-duty nurse tended to him until paramedics arrived.