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USCG member helps out local Toa o le Tai program

You may have noticed high school kids from Samoana high school, swimming in the water at the Utulei Beach Park during school hours, for the past couple of weeks... no worries though, as they are part of the pilot Physical Education (PE) class at SHS, ‘Ocean Swimming/Ocean Science PE class at Samoana High School.

Conducting and instructing this first Ocean Swimming/Ocean Science PE Class, is members of the Toa o le Tai (Ocean Heroes) program, with open water/marathon swimmer Bruckner Chase leading the way.

Chase is among the highly trained peer educators and mentors, that work with the Toa o le Tai program, providing free instruction to youth of the community on how to be safe in and around the ocean.

Another is Patrick Roach, a Aviation Survival Technician (Helicopter Rescue Swimmer) for the United States Coast Guard (USCG), who is here on leave from the USCG to help out with the Toa o le Tai program.

“I am here working with Bruckner Chase, with the Toa o le Tai program. I am an Aviation Survival Technician in the United States Coast Guard and I was able to get sometime off, to come down here to help improve on people’s swimming, in teaching them to try and be strong and more relaxed in the water,” said Roach. “I have been in the Coast Guard for thirteen years and a rescue swimmer for twelve”.

 “I have really enjoyed myself here in American Samoa, as everyone has made me feel welcome and at home. I got to work a little with the Marine Rescue Unit, who had a lot of great questions about managing risks and I was able to have a great discussion with them about how we do that in the Coast Guard,” said Roach.

 On speaking about his time in American Samoa, Roach said, “I have been rendered speechless. Places like this only exist in magazines where I come from. I have never been anywhere that is so tropical and beautiful. The people have been great to me and I had a chance to go to Aunu’u with Bruckner, where he has a special relationship with the people there. I would love to come back” he said.