ACA Members Receive Prestigious
Higgins & Langley Swiftwater Rescue Awards
June 2, 2014
The Higgins & Langley Memorial and
Education Fund announced the 2014 Higgins & Langley Awards, which honor
outstanding achievement in the technical rescue discipline of swiftwater and
flood rescue. Awards go to swiftwater and flood rescue experts worldwide in
several significant categories, including the Outstanding Achievement Award,
Program Development Award, Special Commendation Award, and Swiftwater Rescue
The awards were established in 1993 by members of the Swiftwater Rescue Committee of the National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR) in honor of Earl Higgins, a writer and filmmaker who lost his life in 1980 while rescuing a child who was swept down the flood-swollen Los Angeles River, and Jeffrey Langley, a Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighter-paramedic and swiftwater rescue pioneer, who lost his life in a helicopter incident in 1993. Although there is always an element of heroism involved in dangerous technical rescue operations, these are not awards for heroism, but rather awards that recognize preparedness, teamwork, and a job well done—sometimes under extreme conditions—where training is vital to the success of rescue missions, as well as the safety of rescue personnel.
ACA Level 5: Advanced Swiftwater Rescue Instructor
Trainer Educators, Robin Pope and Sam Fowlkes, both received Special
Commendation Awards, recognizing their extraordinary efforts in organizing and
hosting the first ACA Swiftwater Rescue Conference in October, 2013. The
intensive, three-day, on-river training featured a series of workshops
presented by some of the most respected names in swiftwater rescue, including
Slim Ray, Les Bechdel, Charlie Walbridge, Aaron Peeler, Mike Mather, Walter Felton,
Virgil Chambers, Pam Dillon and Jim Coffey. Participants included more than 100
recreational paddlers, certified paddlesport instructors, and emergency
responders from 22 states and three foreign countries.
In addition to founding the Swiftwater Rescue
Conference, Robin and Sam both volunteer countless hours serving on the ACA’s
Swiftwater Rescue Committee, Safety Education & Instruction Council, and
Board of Directors.
They will receive their awards on Friday,
June 6, 2014, at 7:30 PM, at the annual National Association for Search and
Rescue (NASAR) conference in Woodcliff Lake, NJ.