Wondered how man he helped rescue is doing

To the Editor:

I am one of the surfers that helped pull Mr. Peter Griswold out of the surf on September 20th.

Since that time I’ve frequently wondered how he is doing. The waves that morning were six to eight feet high and the tide was very low. The force of the ocean was fierce on the bigger rogue sets.

When I was pulling Mr. Griswold back to shore we took a couple of pounders right on the noggin as we tried to get out of the break zone and safely back to shore.

He was in and out of consciousness and seemed to be suffering from shooting pains in his neck. Not hearing news, one wonders how things worked out as we go about our lives.

How glad I was to stumble across his “letter to the editor” in the November 7th issue of The Argonaut earlier this evening as this year comes to a close.

Happy New Year and a speedy recovery to Mr. Griswold.

Chris Berlin, Venice

Editors note:

The letter that Chris Berlin recently stumbled across was the following letter from November 7th. This week The Argonaut is running excerpts from many readers’ letters. (See pages 10 to 12.) But as the new year begins, it seems the perfect time to rerun this letter in its entirety. An update: Peter Griswold’s wife reports that he has returned to work and continues to recover.

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter of appreciation to local surfers south of Venice Pier in recognition and gratitude to those who helped to save my life.

On Saturday, September 20th, at about 8 a.m. I was returning from a usual swim to the end of Venice Pier and back. The tide was low but the surf condition was erratic.

The water depth was only about four feet but as the tide was rushing out a really huge comber-type wave ambushed and thrust me head-first to the sandy bottom. I was unconscious for a few seconds, then tried, but failed, to move anything. I thought about drowning, death and God.

About a half-minute later, another regular-size wave was coming and I thought a lot about the first pain when seawater invades the lungs, before I would give it up and drown. Another quarter-minute went by and I was still semi-conscious and barely able to will myself to float face-up and cry out a weak cry for help.

God bless the surfer nearby who saw me floating oddly in the shallow but roiling surf water and rushed to my aid.

Jonathon Ying, an off-duty lifeguard, asked two other surfers to assist in the rescue.

They began to carry my limp body out of the surf. Ying gave excellent commands regarding a more proper way to protect my neck. By then I was fully aware, shouting out about my neck pain and giving my home phone number.

Spencer, the on-duty lifeguard assisted me and called my wife and paramedics. After a painful half-minute ride in the lifeguard pickup truck, they transferred me to a Los Angeles Fire Department ambulance for a half-hour ride to the emergency facility at UCLA Medical Center.

Surgery was Monday, September 22nd, to repair two fractured vertebrae in the neck with a fusion. I was released on Friday, September 26th. My home-care recovery will take about six weeks.

I thank those who saved my life.

Peter Griswold, Marina del Rey

Rosendahl should attack homelessness as effectively as he did billboards

To the Editor:

On December 13th, I saw a long line of families gathering to see Santa Claus and to receive charitable toys at the Pacific Area Community Police Station.

I thought to myself, what generosity of the Los Angeles Police Department and the citizens who gave toys, until Sunday morning when I drove by and saw all the trash in the streets and on the sidewalks and on Pacific Area’s property. It made me very sad and then angry that the families receiving gifts to make their children’s holidays better did not respect the very community that gave the gifts.

Even if there were not enough trash cans provided, these parents should have taught their children to respect the community they live in by hanging on to the trash until they found a suitable place for it. I’ll think twice next year before donating toys to my community. What a shame at such a nice time of year.

Donald Dombrowski, Del Rey

‘Deeply moved’ by reinterment ceremonies at Playa Vista

To the Editor:

As the founder of Friends of Ballona Wetlands, I was deeply moved by the ceremonies at Playa Vista reinterring Gabrieleno remains at their ancestral home site.

I want to thank Councilman Rosendahl for his intercession, resolving a longstanding impasse. And I also want to compliment Robert Dorame and Anthony Morales for their statesmanlike acceptance of an equitable solution which, in small measure, alleviates the centuries of pain the Gabrielenos have endured. And thanks also to Playa Vista for its cooperation and the respect it has shown these original inhabitants of Ballona.

The Friends are particularly pleased with the location of the new burial site within the Discovery Center. In 1990, when we were negotiating with the landowner, we insisted on a location within Playa Vista to commemorate the ecological and social history of Ballona, and the landowner agreed.

For the Gabrielenos, the new Discovery Center will ensure that future generations will understand the historic role they have played at Ballona.

As participants in the rebirth of Ballona, the Friends of Ballona Wetlands celebrate over 30 years of achievement — the all-volunteer dune restoration, the education of thousands of children and adults, the installation of tide gates that allow saltwater to enter Ballona once more and the creation of the freshwater marsh.

As we eagerly await final salt marsh restoration, the Discovery Center will inform the public of Ballona’s extraordinary history and interactively demonstrate the wonder of wetlands, fostering a new appreciation of this precious oasis in the heart of urban Los Angeles.

Ruth Lansford, founder, Friends of Ballona Wetlands

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