Dedicated To Memory Of Russ Urban
Russ Urban who died tragically in November, 2010, in an airplane crash, was a long-time supporter of teaching inner city youth to swim. As a way of honoring Russ’s work, his wife, Judy, sponsors yearly the Russ Urban Memorial Water Safety Program for inner city children every summer.
The children in the swim program range from age 9-18 and are members of the Junior Cadet and Cadet programs associated with the Pacific Division of the Los Angeles Police Department. The Junior Cadet program was created to help boys and girls ages 9 – 13 develop a positive relationship with law enforcement officials. The Cadets program introduces basic law enforcement concepts and techniques while developing leadership and discipline in young people between the ages of 14-21.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW A PHOTO GALLERY OF THE CADETS SWIMMING
The initial swim program offered to the cadet participants was coordinated and implemented in 2007 by LAPD Officer Kristan Delatori, who has been in the LA Police Department for over 15 years, and her partner Officer Darrell Matthews. Officer Delatori learned that over 90 per cent of their Junior Cadets could not swim and most had no family members who could swim. Her research turned up some startling facts.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that nine people die from drowning in the United States every day. Among ethnic groups, the CDC reported, African-Americans have the most limited swimming ability and noted that 56 percent of Hispanic children were non-swimmers. “If this were a disease, this would be an epidemic,” said a spokesman for the group. “We see this disproportionate number of drowning because generationally those parents and grandparents did not have the opportunity or access to quality swim programming,” he said. “As a result they didn’t pass it along to their children.” Many children are taught to stay away from the water altogether and this creates a barrier of fear so they won’t even go to the pool or go to the beach and are petrified of the water.
If your child is interested in learning to swim through the Junior Cadet or Cadets Program, and also learn through other youth activities, contact either of the following officers:
Officer Darell Matthews
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May 14, 1947 – November 21, 2010
Russ, a long time resident of Palos Verdes, died on November 21, 2010 in a tragic plane crash. Born in Tokyo, Japan on May 24, 1947, Russ attended Palisades High School in Pacific Palisades, received a BA degree in Political Science from University of California at Santa Barbara, a teaching credential from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and a Masters of Education from California State University at Dominguez Hills. A passionate environmentalist, Russ was an avid surfer, swimmer, snorkeler, runner, and recycler. He wanted everyone to know the importance of recycling and saving the planet for future generations.
He taught for thirty four years in Palos Verdes, at Point Vicente, Silver Spur, Lunada Bay, and Cornerstone Elementary schools. He was a bachelor until he met Judy, his soulmate. After a twenty year courtship they were married in August 2003 at the Neighborhood Church on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
A lifelong humanitarian, Russ would collect shoes, clothes and toys and deliver them to needy children and their families in Tijuana and Ensenada. In his 63 years he touched countless lives with his warmth and generosity.
He is survived by his beloved wife Judy, his step-daughter Dayna, his parents John and Barbara, a brother, a sister, and two nephews. His body was cremated and his ashes returned to the ocean he so loved.