Historic City News has learned that St Augustine is losing a 21-year veteran of the St Johns County Lifeguard Corps. 58-year-old Captain Andre Van Ekeris, who began his service to the community in 1971, just two years after moving to the city, was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor.
According to an announcement yesterday from his teammates; Andre, his wife Leslie, and their family are continuing the fight during this very difficult time. Van Ekeris moved to St Augustine in 1969 and served as a lifeguard from 1971 until 1992.
“Van Ekeris has contributed greatly to the safety of the St Augustine community,” the announcement read. “His courageous manner in times of need and passion for helping others has not gone unnoticed.”
During his time with St Johns County, Van Ekeris’ immediate action is credited with saving numerous lives and his peers see him as a hero. He has been recognized on several occasions and promoted through the ranks to the leadership position of Captain.
The passion Andre says he had for healing, never compared to the joy of meeting so many people from different walks of life and exchanging stories. “I met my beautiful wife here and decided to take root,” Van Ekeris wrote in a personal note that was included. “Thank you for the opportunity to live amongst you all. I love you!”
He also asked readers to understand that, at his request, no memorial service will be held. “Please celebrate my life in your own way,” Van Ekeris wrote.
Photo credits: © 2014 Historic City News contributed photograph