SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – “It can happen to anyone.” That is the message Gilbert Walker is spreading after the death of his son RaShaad Graham over the weekend.
Graham, Walker’s youngest son at just 33-years-old, drowned while trying to save the life of a young boy while vacationing with his wife in North Carolina. Family members say without hesitation, Graham sprang into action when he saw the boy in distress, without regard to his own life.
“I’m proud of him,” said Walker. “I’m proud to be his father and know that he did what any of us would have done and saved that little boy.”
While Graham is being hailed a hero, his father is using this as an opportunity to remind people of the importance of water safety — especially young people.
“Do your water safety. Keep some sort of plan in case this or that happens,” Walker said. “Think, ‘If I get in trouble, this is what I need to do.’ Find out if there are lifeguards on duty, and if you are not sure about the fact you can swim, don’t let your kids go out too far.
“It can happen to you and anyone. You can have your child taken away from you, and you’ll be sorry for the rest of your life.”
The American Red Cross has a few water safety basics to help protect you and your family. They recommend swimming in designated areas and swimming only when a lifeguard is on duty. They also suggest wearing a life jacket while boating – even on calm waters. Lastly, it’s always a good idea to actively supervise children near water and to never leave them unattended.
The city of Tybee Island has added several lifeguard stands near the middle of the beach for additional safety due to the anticipated influx of people over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.