Photo of the Week
October 10, 1999

Shown at Gamboa Swimming Pool are floating equipment apprentices working in the Dredging and Locks divisions who recently completed a Red Cross Certified Advance Lifesaving and Water Safety course as part of their training. From left, front, are: Pat Williams, Gary Dalton (Locks), Limberus Diamautopulos, and Javier Bolivar.  Standing, from left, Bill Duffus, Ricardo Sandoval, Robert Cruz, Barry McLaughlin, Jorge Terán and Bill McLaughlin, Advanced Lifesaving and Water Safety Instructor.

Boy!!  It was good to be young, slim and a great career in front of you!!

I was asked by the Panama Canal Training Center if  I would start training the PCC's floating equipment apprentices in Lifesaving and Water Safety.  This was something new for the CZ Pools.  Gamboa Pool was selected as the training area.  At this time, I was almost a 10 year Water Safety Instructor and put these guys through the ropes.  No slack.  Even my brother Barry was in this class.  He is still working for Dredging Division today as the Chief Engineer for the floating cranes Hercules and Titan. Half of the students in the class were Panamanian. This class was held in the year of the signing of the Panama Canal Treaty, 1977.  The mold was cast.  Train the Panamanian to take over the Canal in 2000.  Sandoval, Diamoutopulos, Bolivar and Terán were part of the chosen ones of the future.  They were going to be the future of the "new" Panamanian controlled Canal in 2000.  Duffus, Dalton, Williams, Cruz and McLaughlin would all be asked to leave/retire before 2000.  

I posted this "Photo of the Week" because of  a spark that I got reading one of my contributors and friend Art Mokray's October 1 article on the Panama Canal Society web site (click here).  The article mentions Jorge Terán, one of my students above.  Jorge is now the President of the Panama Canal Pilots Association.  Art's article says that in a recent Panama American article quotes Jorge as saying, " that the project for modifying the Law for foreign nationals to continue working with the Canal Authority after December, should have a termination date (fecha de cumpleanós)."  Art states, "I guess this means Panama, or in this case, the Panama Canal Authority, wants a 100 % Panamanian workforce.  You can read more about this at the October 1 article by Art by clicking the link above.  Man!!  Nothing like not feeling welcome!!   This sure doesn't sound like the Jorge I knew back then.  We all had a great time with this class.  Working together and becoming friends. 

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