When we first moved to Beverly Hills in 1994, we enrolled all three of our daughters at Hawthorne Elementary (K-8), where Dick Douglas was the principal. We walked in that first day and were greeted by Mr. Douglas, who had a wide-open smile and bright blue eyes. He made sure that each of our daughters had a buddy to be with them for their first week, and he made us feel seen, heard and appreciated. He asked Ray to be the only parent volunteer they’d ever invited to help supervise the 8th graders at Yosemite for the annual trip. Ray held that post for ten years. Over the years our kids were at Hawthorne, Mr. Douglas remained steadfast, good-spirited, and inspirational. We loved him and so did all the other parents and kids at Hawthorne. He went on to be the superintendent of the Montecito school district and later returned to Beverly Hills to serve as interim superintendent.
Recently, our daughter Liz received her alumni magazine, Beverly Hills Highlights, and discovered an article that mentioned Mr. Douglas. He and a group of friends had entered and completed the Escape from Alcatraz swim/run event in August 2022, which involves a 1.5 swim and a 7-mile run. I’m not quite sure how old Mr. Douglas is but I’m certain he’s in his late 70s. Today, I googled him when thinking of writing this blog and discovered that he received the 2019 Lifeguard Medal of Valor Lifetime Achievement Award. Little did I know that Mr. Douglas swam at UCLA in water polo, and was a lifelong lifeguard and coach. According to his son in the video, Coach Douglas was 75 in 2019, making him 78 at the time of that Alcatraz swim. As far as I know, he is still going strong.
If you want to meet the man who was such a wonderful addition to our lives when we came to Beverly Hills, then please watch the video below. You’ll see what a lovely and humble person he is. I am certainly not surprised that he received an honor for lifetime achievement. He brought this same dedication to his time with the Beverly Hills schools and we are all better for it.
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This was interesting Len. People often surprise us with other aspects of themselves and their life that we don’t see. My daughter is a part time life guard and I forwarded this to her.