Memorial Day weekend is an enormous holiday, attracting thousands of local residents to enjoy a beautiful day on Fort Myers Beach. Managing the influx of visitors at Lani Kai Island Resort is a challenging task requiring the coordination of dozens of employees in order to provide the best experience possible for guests. This past Memorial Day weekend involved a potential tragedy that was avoided due to the excellent response of Lani Kai’s staff.
As Staff Member Kevin Hamm made his scheduled safety checks around the Lani Kai Island Resort property, he saw something was very wrong by the pool area. Several people enjoying the pool failed to notice that a 2 year old girl had fallen into the pool and had been underwater for several minutes. Hamm investigated what he believed was someone underwater in the pool, discovered the girl’s body and immediately had her pulled from the pool. As Hamm called 911, a little boy who was the girl’s brother ran to the beach bar screaming “Help! My sister’s not breathing!”
At that moment, Wind and Water sports employees Joey Davis and Justin Vega jumped into action. At a dead sprint from the bar to the pool area, Davis and Vega discovered the girl, surrounded by people, hardly breathing and with a weak pulse. Both Davis and Vega assessed her condition immediately and started administering CPR procedure until the girl started to breath normally again.
"I have trained for these types of situations and I am thankful that when I was actually involved in this situation that I knew what to do" Justin Vega responded.
After 300-400 CPR compressions, a Lee County Sheriff arrived with an EMT team and rushed the little girl to a local hospital.
“We were happy to be at the right place at the right time to do what we can do.” Joey Davis responded. “It’s a miracle that we were able to resuscitate her.”
"Words cannot describe how proud I am of Joey and Justin. The heroic act they performed saved the life of that young girl" stated Rob Ramadon, owner of Wind and Water Sports
Tasked with enforcing several rules in order to ensure guest safety, our Staff Team covers dozens of roles including security, safety, information, communication, and direction of visitors on property. Many staff members are local residents, some have served in the military, and all are experienced with managing crowds of people and guest safety.
“Our staff is the reason that a young girl survived a potential tragedy” said Michael Ensor, Marketing Director at Lani Kai Island Resort. “We have an amazing team to thank - Kevin Hamm, Joey Davis and Justin Vega saved this little girl’s life.”
All three employees involved in the heroic rescue and resuscitation efforts are being nominated for an E-Award. E Awards honors excellence through extraordinary service and dedication in the hospitality industry.
“The goal of nominating an employee for an E-Award is to increase public awareness of the outstanding customer service being provided by hospitality professionals in Lee County.” stated Ensor. “We are very lucky to have heroes on our team that put forth 110% for our guests and they will be celebrated for their efforts.”
All nominated employees are recognized at the annual E Awards breakfast in September as an Elaine McLaughlin Outstanding Hospitality Service Awards winner. A winner in each category will be announced with the Honor of Distinction awarded to one nominee who best represents the Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel spirit of extraordinary customer service.
“We welcome families from all around the world to enjoy our beaches.” Ensor said. “As thousands flock to the beach to enjoy fun in the sun, it’s important to keep your young children in sight. Meanwhile, our staff will remain vigilant 365 days a year to ensure that our guests are enjoying our beach safely”.
The YMCA has pointed out how fast an incident can happen with a young child. If you cross a room for a towel (10 sec), a child in a bathtub can be submerged. Answering the phone (2 min), a child can lose consciousness. Signing for a package at the front door (4-6 min), a child submerged in a tub or pool can sustain permanent brain damage.
“I’m so happy the little girl is ok and would love a chance to meet her, speak with her, and give her the Elmo doll that I have for her” Hamm added.
“We are hoping to have a reunion with the family and little girl who has been on all of our employees’ minds and hearts.” Ensor included.
The family of the young girl who survived the potential drowning has not been available for comment at this time. If anyone is in contact with the family, please ask the family to contact Lani Kai Island Resort at 239-463-3111 and ask to speak with Michael Ensor.