Fired lifeguard receives key to city
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- A lifeguard who was fired after leaving his post to help save a swimmer has received the key to the City.
Monday morning, Tomas Lopez received a key to the City of Hallandale Beach from Mayor Joy Cooper after his heroic act on July 2. The mayor thanked Lopez for his actions and called his firing embarrassing. Lopez was fired after he helped rescue a tourist who was swimming outside his zone when he started drowning.
Maksim Samartsev, the victim, along with the paramedics who attended to him also appeared at the ceremony. "I want to say a big thanks to this man, you saved my life," said Samartsev after meeting Lopez for the first time since the rescue.
Lopez said he was elated to finally meet Samartsev. "We heard he was OK, we heard he was doing good, but I never had confirmation. Now to see him here it's overwhelming."
Lopez said he will put his key in his room on a mantel next to his grandfather's key to the City.
The mayor said there are two more people, a nurse and another bystander, who were also a big part of this rescue, who they will also like to thank. Mayor Cooper is asking for those two people to come forward so that they can be recognized.
City officials said they will discuss the contract they have with Jeff Ellis Management, the company who fired Lopez, in August when their contract is up.
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