Paragon Awards                           Presented By

Suity Cureton, Commodore (1993-1997), Commodore Longfellow Society

2003 Paragon Award / Aquatic Safety


When Suity stepped off the bus in Marshall, Texas on August 24, 1949, at a Red Cross National Aquatics School, she was hooked. The school was at Camp Fern, staffed with people who made an impression on her. From that day on, Suity’s goal was to become a permanent part of these National Red Cross Schools.


It all began when she organized, supervised and taught swimming courses and lifesaving in Bosque County, Texas in a drain-and-fill pool where no water safety classes had been conducted. The first day in the water, after the pool was filled each week, was an exercise in pretending the water wasn’t cold. After a couple years, she moved to Pecos, Texas to another drain-and-fill pool. Her classes there were so popular she had to enlist volunteers to assist.


She joined her first National Aquatics School staff in 1950 by assisting in the office while working on her skills necessary to become a part of the teaching staff. By the time the last Aquatic School was held in her area in Kansas in 1989, she had been on staff at 56 National Schools and directed this last one. All this while, she never neglected her local communities by timing local programs so that they would not interfere with the dates of the Aquatic Schools. For many years she went to two schools, one in June and another in August.


Suity served on many committees during these years, both local and national. She was appointed National Volunteer Chairman for Health and Safety in 1990, answering directly to the National Office in Washington, D.C.


Suity made a lifetime of promoting health and safety. She taught swimming and lifesaving every summer as an unpaid volunteer wherever she happened to live. She joined the Commodore Longfellow Society in 1958, and at every opportunity promoted its objectives of educating the public to the importance of water safety. She served as National Commodore of the Society for two terms, the only woman to serve in that capacity. She is also a Golden Whale.


Suity was always available to talk to groups, promoting aquatic safety and enlisting others in the program. She preached the use of standards and was adamant about starting at the beginner level, making sure each little student could actually perform all the swimming skills listed on the back of his card.

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