From left, Sea Isle City Beach Patrol Alumni Hall of Fame inductees include Robert Herzog, Jim Guntle and Bill Feaster Jr. The other inductee, Jordy Troyan, did not attend the ceremony.


Four former lifeguards were inducted into the Sea Isle City Beach Patrol Alumni’s Hall of Fame during a ceremony Saturday night that underscored the deep bonds that exist between the people who are responsible for protecting thousands of lives each summer.

Bill Feaster Jr., Jim Guntle, Robert Herzog and Jordy Troyan were part of the 20th anniversary class of inductees and now join a select group of former lifeguards who hold a place in the Hall of Fame.

All four were honored with proclamations from Sea Isle City and Congress in recognition of their accomplishments and service.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, whose district includes Cape May County, presented Feaster, Guntle and Herzog with the Congressional proclamations during a ceremony at Carmen’s Restaurant. Troyan was not in attendance.

“You’re saving lives. You’re making a difference,” Van Drew said while lauding their contributions to the community. “Thank you for your good work. Thank you for your sacrifice.”

All of the inductees thanked their families for their support over the years. Choking back tears, Feaster recalled how his late mother, Cathy, would bring him a fresh lunch and something to drink when he was on the lifeguard stand.

“She was the best. This job was the best,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, second from left, presents Feaster, Guntle and Herzog with Congressional proclamations.

Feaster, 57, who now lives in Trooper, Pa., has the distinction of joining his father, Bill Feaster Sr., and uncle, Tom Feaster, as former Sea Isle lifeguards in the Hall of Fame. Feaster said it is a great honor to be in the hall with his father and uncle.

During his remarks at the ceremony, Feaster jokingly recalled that he was a “pudgy, little kid” when he joined the beach patrol at only 16 years old.

He noted that his father strongly encouraged him to become a lifeguard during a serious “what are you going to do for the summer” talk.

“He pushed me to try out,” he said.

Feaster told the audience that once he became a lifeguard, he took the responsibility of protecting so many lives “very seriously.”

“It really did prepare me for life after the beach,” said Feaster, who is a medical device sales representative.

Members of the Sea Isle City Beach Patrol Alumni nominating committee join the three Hall of Fame inductees for a group photo.

Guntle and Herzog joined Feaster in stressing how their experience as lifeguards dramatically shaped their lives, helping to make them responsible family men in the process.

They also spoke of the deep friendships and ties that they made with their fellow lifeguards – bonds that have lasted decades later.

“Everyone was a lot of fun to work with. There were a lot of good people,” Guntle said.

Guntle, 68, who now lives in Great Falls, Va., went on to have a financial career on Wall Street and for the last 30 years has been the chairman and owner of a stock brokerage and investment firm.

In his remarks, Guntle said he tried out for the beach patrol on the very first day that he visited Sea Isle.

“I couldn’t have had a better experience than my experience with the Sea Isle Beach Patrol,” he said.

His time as a lifeguard included representing the Sea Isle Beach Patrol in competitive runs. During one run years ago, three drunks hopped out of their car and beat him up.

When Guntle went to the police station to identify his assailants, who were in custody, other members of the beach patrol were there to back him up, he said. That experience at the police station illustrated the support and camaraderie that the lifeguards shared, Guntle noted.

In his remarks, Congressman Van Drew thanks the Hall of Fame inductees for their service and sacrifice.

Herzog didn’t make the beach patrol the first year he tried out at 15 years old. He and a close friend trained at a YMCA to become better swimmers, which was pivotal in Herzog’s selection the following year as a lifeguard.

“It was my destiny from a child to be part of the beach patrol,” he said.

Herzog, 43, now resides in Oreland, Pa. In addition to his notable lifeguard career, he went on to become a top lacrosse player at St. Joseph’s University and later coached lacrosse at the high school and college level.

Similar to Feaster’s remarks, Herzog emphasized that he and his fellow lifeguards were well aware of the huge responsibility they had every day they went to work.

“Jetty to jetty, it was a full-time job. We took it very seriously,” he said.

Looking back on his lifeguard career from 1995 to 2002, Herzog said he is absolutely convinced that “it was the greatest job on earth.”