by | Jul 11, 2024 | Other News

Lifeguards are integral to most swimming pools – certainly to all the Simon Family JCC’s pools. While the aquatics team has had its share of seasoned guards, most tend to be teens and/or young adults. Two new employees, however, are out of the lifeguard-ordinary: Paul Mulcahy is 62 years old and Joszef Patar is 70.

“I love hiring lifeguards that have life experience, developed leadership skills, and a pleasant disposition. It’s always an asset for the entire staff,” says Tom Edwards, athletics director of the Simon Family JCC.

Mulcahy learned about the opportunity from his 16-year-old son, Quinn, also a JCC lifeguard. A native of Medford, Mass., Mulcahy was the captain of his high school swim team and spent many years as a Navy helicopter rescue swimmer. “I was the guy who jumped out of helicopters,” he says. 

After leaving the Navy, Mulcahy opened Children’s Orchard, a franchise of children’s consignment clothing stores with the only location in Virginia. After six years, he moved into the insurance business before becoming a voice actor. “I need to hide my accent,” he jokes.

Mulcahy is also a competitive body builder who happens to train at the JCC. In fact, he has won several men’s championship titles in the over .60 age category. In addition to playing the guitar in a jazz combo, Mulcahy serves as a teaching associate at Eastern Virginia Medical School, using his own body to teach the skill of giving physical exams.

Becoming a lifeguard again required getting re-qualified. The Simon Family JCC provides a training program. “I completed that after 40 years of not being a lifeguard!” he laughs.

Originally from Budapest, Joszef Patar moved to Virginia Beach only six months ago. The son of a Jewish mother and Hungarian military officer, Patar, his mother, and three siblings escaped the Russians and emigrated to Canada in 1956, when he was two years old.

Patar attended Simon Fraser University on a swimming scholarship and became a lifeguard to earn money. While in college, he started an underwater hockey team at the university and came to the United States to coach the U.S. World Underwater Hockey Team. “We beat Canada in the medal round,” he says with a smile. The U.S. team earned the bronze medal. 

After living in Los Angeles, Patar and his wife, Lauren Joy, moved to Tidewater to be closer to a sibling. He finds the Jewish community to be more inclusive than in California, and he and Lauren Joy have become members of Ohef Sholom Temple and the Simon Family JCC. 

Patar says he loves that so many opportunities are advertised at the United Federation of Tidewater. He currently participates in Moon Circle and the Senior Club. His philosophy? “The moment you sit on the couch, you’re never getting up again.”

Paul and Quinn Mulcahy.