GRAPEVINE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A 17-year-old Southlake Carroll Senior High School student created a campaign to donate life jackets to the Loan-A-Life Jacket Program, managed by the Grapevine Fire Department.
The program which started in 2017, includes five life-jacket station trees at popular swimming locations around Grapevine Lake and encourages boaters and swimmers to borrow a life jacket while on the lake and return them prior to leaving the lake.
Ten years ago, Rohan Rumalla had a near-drowning experience in his own backyard pool.
“I passed out underwater, where I remained for over five minutes. When I was pulled out, I was unconscious, blue, and had no pulse. I was taken to Cook Children’s in Fort Worth via helicopter in critical condition, and my chances for survival were low,” Rumalla said in a statement through the City of Grapevine.
“Through the wonders of science, my medical team, and the grace of God, I woke up three days later. I survived. My family and I remain extremely blessed and thankful; however, many families are not so lucky. Since my drowning, I have been involved in drowning prevention and water safety, as I feel it is my duty to do my best to prevent further tragedy.”
When at full capacity, there are 130 life jackets available between the five stations on Grapevine Lake.
During each summer, many of these vests are not returned to their stations and this leaves many lake attendees at a greater risk of drowning, the City of Grapevine said.
Over the past three years, 21 people have drowned in Grapevine Lake; none of whom were wearing life jackets, the city said.
Those who wish to donate to the Loan-A-Life Jacket Program can call 817.410.4450.