Long Beach lifeguards help 100-year-old get back in the water one last time

Just months after hitting his centennial birthday, a Long Island man set out on a goal -- to get back in the water, no matter what it took.

News 12 Staff

Dec 26, 2020, 11:56 AM

Updated 1,266 days ago

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Just months after hitting his centennial birthday, a Long Island man set out on a goal -- to get back in the water, no matter what it took.
Louis Ehrlich was a Long Beach lifeguard 80 years ago. His love for the water is still as strong as ever at 100 years old.
Unfortunately for Lou, he can't be a part of the surf and sun as much as he'd like to.
"I sat many days on my terrace watching the people have a great time ... I'd like to be with them," says Ehrlich. "I can't walk in the sand. I walked five steps and fell, I couldn't balance myself. It was terrible."
But for his 100th birthday, Ehrlich had one simple wish that he told his daughter and son-in-law. He wanted to step in the water one more time.
So his family go to work, and with help from the Long Beach Patrol, plans were in motion.
"They didn't even hesitate, it wasn't even a thought process," said Ehrlich's son-in-law Steven Smith.
"It was my pleasure, Lou coming down and saying, 'Can you help me get my feet in the water,'" said lifeguard Vincent Leis.
And with four wheels and two helping hands, Leis and Chaz Thompson gave Long Beach's oldest lifeguard a permanent smile and his birthday wish, all in one.
"It just felt great, brought back many memories, it made me happy," said Ehrlich. "This is heaven I said, it must be what heaven is like."


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