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IB Lifeguard Benny Holt Retires After Lifetime of Service

Now retired IB Lifeguard Benny Holt.
Now retired IB Lifeguard Benny Holt.
Benny Holt, 70, an Imperial Beach Lifeguard since 1965, retired after more than 47 years of service to Imperial Beach.

"If Imperial Beach had its own currency, Benny would be on it," said longtime IB Lifeguard Jim Sullivan.

Holt, who has worked as a cross country and track coach at Mar Vista High School for decades, has mentored generations of IB Lifeguards.

"I actually started lifeguarding in Turkey in 1964 when I was in the Air Force," said Holt.

Holt who was born in Imperial Beach was trained as a lifeguard by legendary IB waterman and Public Safety Director Dempsey Holder.

On February 22, dozens of former and current IB Lifeguards and members of the surfing community gathered at the Holder Public Safety Center to honor Benny.

Young and old, everyone had nothing but good things to say about Benny, who has dedicated his life to public and community service.

I lifeguarded with Benny for five years in the 1980s and was lucky enough to have been coached by him as a cross country runner at Mar Vista High School. He inspired me then and still inspires me with his positive demeanor and ability to bring out the best in everyone.

Thanks Benny for all you have done for Imperial Beach and all the lives you have saved.

Serge Dedina has lived in Imperial Beach since 1971 and is a candidate for Mayor. He can be reached via Facebook.com/Serge4IBMayor or sergededina (at) gmail.com

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DigitalAdsTV.com March 15, 2014 at 11:23 AM
Not only has Benny been a great friend, but also a great inspiration. I've known Benny for most of my life. I've watched as he's always putting the needs of others above his own. Always going out of his way to help those who truly need it. He's a great role model as to how people should live their lives. This sounds cheesy but I'm honored to call Benny a friend. Now that I think of it he's more like family. Thank you Benny!
Andy Arciga March 15, 2014 at 03:38 PM
I met Benny as a rookie FF in 1969. We have been friends ever since. I still see him occasionally at the Coronado muni pool. He has been an asset and ambassador to Imperial Beach thru his rescues and encounters w/visitors on the beach. His retirement is well deserved,however,his experience and expertise will be missed.
Mike G March 16, 2014 at 04:59 PM
Wow, an actual public servant. Not one of the politicians that call themselves so. This man is not only a stalwart of the community but apparently someone that could be turned to as a friend and mentor. Good luck and enjoy your retirement Mr. Holt. You have truly earned it.
Mario Olmos March 16, 2014 at 08:58 PM
I have known Benny for 23 yrs. Every cross country season I would walk past him on the way to the wrestling room and we would always stop and talk about our athletes. I would ask him about his runners and he would ask me about my wrestlers. Through the years we became friends and colleagues. His first concern was always for the health and well being of his runners. I look forward to seeing him in his green VW bus around town. Happy Summer days Benny!

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