Ocean Safety Awards

See awards and recognition for outstanding ocean safety employees.


Each year, the Honolulu Ocean Safety Division recognizes outstanding employees. Honolulu Ocean Safety Division employees are eligible to receive either the Honolulu Emergency Services Department Employee of the Year award or the Valor Award.


  • Kavan Okumura

    HESD Employee of the Year Award


  • Bryan Phillips

    HESD and City Employee of the Year Award


  • Kavan Okumura

    HESD Employee of the Year Award


  • Ian Forestor

    HESD Employee of the Year Award


  • Charlie Oliveri

    HESD Employee of the Year Award


  • William Goding

    HESD Employee of the Year Award


  • Ralph Goto

    Manager of the Year Award

  • Bodo Van Der Leeden

    HESD Employee of the Year Award


  • Robert Miller

    HESD Employee of the Year Award

Valor Awards

Valor award recipients are nominated by the Chief of Honolulu Ocean Safety to recognize officers and employees who perform job-related acts of valor or heroism. Valor awards are the highest level of recognition that can be received. Learn more about the process of selection for valor award recipients.

2023 Award Winners

Tristan Fabro

On March 28, 2023, Tristan Fabro responded to a 911 call near East Honolulu where two young men were in distress in windy and rainy conditions in the ocean at Spitting Caves on O'ahu's southeast coast. Upon arrival he found two teen=aged men struggling, one already underwater. With back-up teams from the Honolulu Fire Department a jet ski rescue team en route to, but not yet at, that extremely treacherous areas, he knew time was of the essence. After alerting his Ocean Safety and HFD partners of his plan and armed with six years of city lifeguard experience and decades of local knowledge of the area, he jumped 60 feet from the top of the cliff into the windy, choppy, stormy water next to the victims. He was able to clip rescues tubes to both victims and puled them to the exit point at Pillars where he was met by the jet ski team and HFD, who were able to extricate the men. By demonstrating exceptional judgement, and in assuming a risk that far surpassed the normal expectation in a similar circumstance, he saved two lived. 

2022 Award Winners

Noland Keaulana

Just before 3:29 p.m., on January 24, 2022, a 50-year old male visitor from Arizona was swept in huge and dangerous surf at Ke Iki from the shore, just down the beach from Pipeline. The victim drowned almost immediately, but his body was visible for about a minute and a half in giant 18-20 foot surf. WSO II Noland Keaulana was literally rinsing off from an earlier rescue when he heard over the radio that the victim’s body was visible in the shore break, several hundred yards away. Knowing that they may never relocate the victim, or at least would be delayed in recovering the victim, WSO II Keaulana demonstrated exceptional heroism, impressive decision making, and laudable initiative, when he simply stopped what he was doing at Tower 26, jumped on to an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and sped several hundred yards down the sand, threading his way through a crowd, to the last known position of the unconscious victim. As he stopped the ATV, WSO II Keaulana spotted the victim, jumped off the ATV and ran across a sharp coral lava shelf exposed as waves began to retreat after a set. Wave heights on some sets were 20 feet, and an intense rip current developed, sweeping down the reef shelf and out to sea and down to Sharks Cove. Knowing he would likely be smashed himself on the rock ledge, but knowing he was the victim’s only chance at survival, WSO II Keaulana jumped on to the victim’s body just as the waves finished pulling back from the ledge. Now holding the victim, WSO II Keaulana was indeed hammered by 15 shore break waves in a row, with intervals of approximately 17-20 seconds — from 10-18 feet in size, from the powerful West-Northwest direction — in the rocky shoreline, but managed to keep control of the body and let the current pull them both down the beach. WSO II Keaulana intended to get the victim farther off shore so partners on a rescue jet ski could pull them both to safety, but then he was caught by three or four even bigger waves on an even sharper lava shelf. In this area, the reef shelf was far too sharp for WSO II Keaulana to walk or pull the unconscious victim out, so he just toughed it out in the waves until he finally had a chance to swim them out of the shore break and out to the sea. Immediately as he did, his Ocean Safety partners on the rescue ski pulled them both up on to a rescue sled and sped them back to a sandy spot between Rock Piles and Pipeline surf spots. Once on the beach, WSO II Keaulana and his partners started CPR and performed 14 cycles before the EMS Paramedics arrived and took over. The victim was taken in critical condition to Wahiawa General Hospital. If it wasn’t for WSO II Keaulana’s quick thinking, personal sacrifice and heroism, the victim may have been lost to the sea. WSO II Keaulana suffered significant “reef rash”, or serious cuts and abrasions to his shoulders and back. He single handedly ensured a drowning victim had a chance at survival and his actions far and away surpass what is normally required of a tower lifeguard. WSO II Keaulana risked his own life on January 24, 2022, in an effort to ensure he and his Ocean Safety Division partners had a chance to save another’s.

Lt. Jesse King

Just before 6p.m., on January 15, 2022, a day of spectacular—giant and clean—North Shore winter surf, Ocean Safety Division Lt. Jesse King was preparing to close down the day’s operations, when an off duty lifeguard surfing in huge, deadly, but clean, surf near Ke Iki Beach reported a body-boarder in distress near Off-the-Wall. Lt. King immediately responded within a minute from the division’s nearby North Shore station, and worked closely and quickly with another on-duty Water Safety Officer and others. The lifeguards immediately determined there would be no way to bring the injured and distressed body-boarder to shore through massive shorebreak with darkness rapidly approaching, without a jet ski. The reef, the razor sharp shelf, and the giant shorebreak meant the best thing to do would be to swim the victim outside the impact zone and navigate a rescue jet ski pick-up. Ocean Safety’s rescue jet ski teams, however, had gone off duty a half an hour before. Thinking outside the box, Lt. King told the other lifeguard in the water he had a plan. Lt. King demonstrated superb initiative, uncommon leadership, and quick thinking, to decide to return to the beach alone through the dangerous shorebreak and then jump into an Ocean Safety truck and race down Kamehameha Highway toward Haleʻiwa with lights and sirens. Once at the Haleʻiwa boat harbor, Lt. King launched a jet ski with help from another lifeguard and then raced back to Ke Iki. Once on scene, Lt. King picked up the victim and the on-duty responder, and returned both safely to the harbor. In the water, while swimming through and under waves of 10 feet or more and a looming deadline of rapidly diminishing daylight, and another’s life in the balance, Lt. King thought carefully but quickly in devising a rescue plan. He then executed it without error. Lt. King’s spur-of-the-moment decision and leadership proved the program works and saves lives, because his heroic effort with darkness falling on a giant and spectacular day at Ke Iki, almost certainly saved one.

2021 Award Winners

Kamakani Froiseth and Kekuahoʻolehua Flood

WSOII Kamakani Froiseth and Kekuahoʻolehua Koa Flood saved the lives of two swimmers in distress at "Electric Beach" near Kahe Point on the Leeward Coast, Feb. 4, 2021. While driving to work before their 9 a.m. shift, they observed HFD rescuers setting up at Electric Beach in an attempt to rescue the swimmers. With an intimate knowledge of the area, and their own personal equipment strapped to their truck, the two stopped and were immediately put to work on the complex rescue in large surf. While HFD rescuers prepared the beach for their arrival, WSOII Flood and Froiseth reached the two swimmers easily in dangerous 10' surf, but then worked quickly to bring the swimmers to the surface and onto rescue boards. Both off duty Lifeguards each grabbed one of the swimmers and they quickly brought both to shore. Their quick actions, selfless service, and professionalism are a testament to all the men and women of the Ocean Safety Division. Both WSOII Flood and Froiseth instantly knew their talents as watermen were instrumental in a successful outcome to this case and they recognized how to integrate quickly into HFD's incident command structure. They calmly and quickly provided assistance, and then volunteered to effect the rescue - all within a minute of their arrival on scene. Their collaboration with HFD, and ability to help lead a successful rescue, are worthy of this special recognition.

Fred Booth

WSOII Fred Booth saved the life of a visitor at Ke Iki Beach in a rescue Jan. 10, 2021, that garnered international attention. On a day of a high surf warning on the North Shore - waves were giant and perfect, with faces near 20' in that location - a female visitor standing in knee deep water was pulled into the ocean and swept out to sea. With no hesitation, and no regard for his own safety, WSOII Booth donned fins and a rescue tube and sprinted into action. He knows the razor sharp reef there like the back of his hand and quickly got to the woman in distress, calmly clipped her into the rescue tube, and swam her to deeper and safer water. The two treaded water for several minutes before WSOII Booth was able to time a return to the beach over the rocks. The woman was quoted as saying had WSOII Booth not appeared in that moment to save her, she would have drowned. What makes WSOII Booth's response extraordinary is that he had the foresight all afternoon long to patrol down to Ke Iki from a tower near Rock Piles, nearly a half mile away. WSOII Booth warned several dozen beach goers in the hour before the rescue by using an All Terrain Vehicle to patrol the shoreline. With an inkling that someone may get into trouble at the picturesque spot, he purposefully patrolled back and forth in the minutes just before the rescue after having literally warned people away from the shoreline. His extraordinary professionalism and desire to serve saved a life.
read the story at khon2

Joey Cadiz

WSOII Joey Cadiz saved the life of a snorkeler in deadly surf Feb. 13, 2021. The snorkeler went out in 15' surf near Waimea Bay at a spot called "Uppers," where he lept from a short cliff into the water and could not return. A distress call was referred through 911 to Ocean Safety and the call was relayed to a rescue jet ski team. Upon hearing the call, WSOII Cadiz - working the tower at Waimea Bay - grabbed his fins and a tube and sprinted up the hill on to Kamehameha Highway and then down a half mile away to the snorkeler struggling against the rocks. A former UH football player, WSOII Cadiz then leapt into the water the same way the snorkeler did to reach him and pull him out to sea, where they treaded water until the rescue ski team could arrive. Badly battered by the rocks, the snorkeler needed immediate medical attention. He would have very likely drowned had WSOII Cadiz not sprinted up the hill and to that location nearly four minutes before the ski arrived. WSOII Cadiz demonstrated extremely quick thinking, a desire to help, and a recognition that minutes meant the difference between life and death. But for his quick thinking, the snorkeler would have drowned.

2020 Award Winners

Miguel Baez, Jr., Noland Keaulana, Koa Ibarra, Kamakani Froiseth, Kory Romero, Kaimana Beauford, Darryl Terukina, Matthew Arakaki, Melanie Bartels, Rayden Keaulana, Taku Horie, Daniel Zukoski Brandon Martin and Jaron Chong.

In December 2019, Honolulu Ocean Safety responded to a 21-year old woman and a 19-year-old man who were swept into the water at Moi Hole near Kaʻena State Beach Park. The conditions were so dangerous that Ocean Safety personnel had to hold their breath for minutes to get in-and-out of the cave using only their fins to sweep the walls and blindly feel for the couple. While both swimmers unfortunately passed away from the incident, the City says relatives expressed gratitude for the closure the lifeguards brought them.

Andrew Logreco

In December 2019, a professional surfer wiped out on a wave. The surfer hit his head on his board, fracturing his skull and knocking him unconscious. Honolulu Ocean Safety Rescue Operator, Andrew Logreco, raced into the impact zone to retrieve the injured surfer. Upon finding the man, Logreco jumped from his water ski toward the submerged swimmer. The lifeguard resurfaced with the injured man, positioned him on the back of a second ski and brought him back to shore where Honolulu Emergency Medical Services was able to administer further treatment.
Read the story at KHON2