Pool tragedies must be prevented

To the editor:

Recently, there have been media reports nationally and internationally of accidents in private and public swimming pools of tragic nature. These mishaps have been due to a lack of covers over pool drains to guard from overpowering suction that is caused by water going down through the drain pipe.

The arms, shoulders and sometimes legs (even torsos where small children are involved) of victims are drawn down. Of course, drownings, or near drownings, occur.

About 1948, when I was a high school senior at Brilliant, a neighbor friend, George Brown Jr., turned 18 while he was a junior.

George Brown Sr., who as the Tidd Power Plant’s top engineer, signed his son into the Navy for him to get experience and education operating steam ships, which would be valuable to prepare to eventually be a power plant engineer in other American Electric Power Corp. power plants. A company rule did not allow more than one family member to work at the same plant.

At boot camp in South Florida, on his first weekend pass, George Jr. went to a nearby public pool and dove in. The cover was off the drain and he drowned.

Besides being overcome emotionally due to his son’s death, George Jr.’s father was disappointed over the dream of fulfillment. George Jr. was very good at higher math and the technical knowledge George Sr. had taught his son for many years.

Laws and regulations have to be passed and enforced. Such terrible tragedies and costly disregard must not occur.

William F. Millard

Jefferson City, Mo.

(Editor’s note: Millard is a former area resident and employee of the Herald-Star.)