Two guys decided to take a rowboat down to the beach and wait to see if someone started drowning. It was a busy beach with an undertow, so it wasn't long before they got their first customer. The novice swimmer was grateful and gave them many heartfelt thanks. A week later, their third rescued swimmer happened to have some money. He gave them a few thousand dollars. They were there just to help, but it felt nice to have a little money. After discussing it they decided to put up a lean-to so they could stay out of the rain and sun a bit. A third person joined them, not every day, because she had to work downtown. She could come by two or three times a week, and really, that was when they were busiest anyway.
Soon the people they saved started really giving to them. A meal here, some boards to build a proper hut, money if they had it. One or two even stayed around to help save other drowning people. The beach was real busy and the currents were well-known for sweeping people far from the comfort and stability of the shore.
After three months they had fifty people and worked in shifts. Some of them watched for swimmers, some worked on building a big house with a kitchen, bathrooms, and a meeting hall. More drowning victims were saved, more members joined. Two more boats were bought, one with a motor.
The motor boat was not just efficient it was fun. Two more motors were bought, and another 3 boats. The number of people began to swell. Organization was called for. A Constitution, By-Laws, and a Mission Statement were drawn up. Committees were formed. A Lifesaving Committee, a Boat Maintenance Committee, a Building Committee, a Planning Committee, and a Food Service Committee. There was a committee for personnel, nominations, and even a Committee on Committees. They added on another building and put up a sign. The building had a tower and a bell. More people continued to be saved, more people joined the group, especially the saved souls who were so nearly lost.
A year later, again the club grew. They added offices, classrooms, and a gymnasium. Not that they called it a gym, it was a Family Life Center with a multi-purpose room. It worked for sports, but also the big dinners they had. They taught lifesaving classes, boating lessons, even swimming lessons. Now there was a shed for the boats, a pier, even a bus to bring in some of the members who wanted to participate but didn't have any other way to get to the beach.
There were programs for people of all ages, young, old, youth, blue-haired, mixed groups, married groups, single groups, everyone was welcome, everyone saved someone. They continued to grow. The parking lot was too small, they added a playground for the kids, re-paved the parking lot and put in a bigger sign, this one with lights. A bigger tower was installed in the new meeting hall so they could look way out into the sea and see lost swimmers fighting against the currents and tides of the beach.
Annually they had a homecoming event. Everyone who had ever been a member or had ever been saved was welcomed. There were pot-luck suppers, ice cream socials, weekly classes, and everyone felt good about themselves. Every so often the main guy steering the ship would talk about needing money, or work on the grounds. Someone always provided, no one had to work just throw some money at it. There were over 1400 members now. Then it happened.
At the quarterly business meeting someone proposed they stop rescuing swimmers. After all, by now they should know better than to swim in those cold, treacherous waters. No one wanted to climb the tower anymore and the rope for the bell had dry rotted. The debate was heated, but when the vote was taken it was overwhelming. The rescue missions stopped.
The dinners continued, and the classes. The weekly meetings still went on, once on Wednesday but twice on Sundays. People talked about the good old days, dreamed of what used to be. They enjoyed the beach, played in the sand, drove around the waters in their boats. Everyone felt good about themselves.
Except for two guys. They took an old rowboat and moved down the shore. There were still lost people to be saved.