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May 2018 Sunbury Daily Item

Nick Bertone

Lifeguard Nick Bertone helps Charnaris, 9, float on her back during a swim lesson 

Lynn Rees, the aquatics instructor at the Sunbury YMCA, said high school students make up most of her lifeguard class participants, but there are some exceptions. Nick Bertone, 20, of Sunbury, was born deaf and wears a cochlear implant, a surgically implanted device that provides some sound and has helped him learn to speak. "When I was a kid, I loved to swim," said Bertone, who aspired to be a lifeguard after doing a high school research paper on Leroy Colombo, a deaf lifeguard in Texas. With the aid of an interpreter, Rees trained Bertone alone until they became familiar with one another and developed a rapport before he joined in the group instruction. Bertone works most weekends as a lifeguard at the Sunbury pool and during the week at a YMCA in Pittsburgh where he is studying engineering. "He's got to focus a lot more on what's going on, but I knew he was going to fit in with my team," she said. "He's made the staff better and members love him. He's so attentive and he interacts with everybody.”

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