Grandmother, 70, Comes Out of Retirement to Help Amid Lifeguard Shortage

Robin Borlandoe started as a lifeguard at 16. Now she's patrolling Philadelphia pools in her golden years

NBC News

Robin Borlandoe thought she was out, but they pulled her back in — to keep kids safe.

The 70-year-old mother of three and grandmother of six came out of retirement this year to work as a lifeguard for the city of Philadelphia amid the nationwide lifeguard shortage.

"I was a lifeguard when I was 16 and loved it," Borlandoe told NBC Nightly News. "I decided to finally do it to do something for our kids, our community."

NBC News reported only 50 of Philadelphia's 65 pools are currently open due to the shortage. Pools and beaches across the country are facing similar problems.

Related: How a national lifeguard shortage could impact your summer fun

Borlandoe told NBC News she was motivated to pursue the job to give kids in Philadelphia a safe place to spend their summer.

"They have no place to go," Borlandoe said, referencing gun violence happening in cities nationwide. "The pools are closed all around."

NBC News reported that at least 100 children ages 17 and younger have been shot this year in Philadelphia.

Borlandoe shared that one shooting happened outside her home and three young boys died.

"When you see it, it's scary and it's very sad," she said.

Borlandoe failed to qualify for lifeguarding on her first attempt. Determined to make a difference, she kept taking the test until she passed.

"I’m very much committed to this," she said. "This is my reputation. This is my community."

Borlandoe added that she wanted "just to do something, no matter how small, to help out."

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