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Fort Worth woman named Make a Splash Hero

Pam Cannell, the executive director of the Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition, received the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash Hero Award April 11 at the National Drowning Prevention Alliance Educational Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The award is presented to an individual, group, or organization that exemplifies the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash mission of saving children’s lives through swim lessons, and works to help provide every child with the opportunity to learn how to swim.

Misty Vento of Fort Worth, a volunteer with the local coalition, received the 2017 Community Lifesaver Award from the alliance, honoring her efforts to advance water safety and drowning prevention on the community level. (See: Fort Worth mom to receive national award for drowning prevention advocacy, Fort Worth Business Press online, April 6, 2017:

“Since joining the Make a Splash Local Partner network in 2013, Pam Cannell and the Fort Worth Downing Prevention Coalition have put more than 1,000 children through swimming lessons, targeting the Como neighborhood,” the award presentation said. “The Como neighborhood suffered four pediatric drownings in the summer of 2015. Following this, more than 300 children went through the Fort Worth Drowning Prevention Coalition’s lesson program, which also includes water safety education for parents and caregivers.”

Tarrant County ranks third in Texas for the number of pediatric drownings, the leading cause nationally for accidental deaths in children 4 and under. Nationally, about 10 people a day die from accidental drownings.

Since the accidental drowning of her 4-year-old son, Xander, Vento has shared her story with parents, children and educators through personal appearances and videos.

Since its founding in 2013, the FWDPC’s drowning prevention programs have awarded 651 learn-to-swim scholarships, distributed more than 1,100 life jackets and engaged 440 volunteers who have spent more than six thousand hours delivering life-saving skills to children and adults.

The FWDPC’s free summer water safety classes will run May, June and July at three Fort Worth-area pools.

For more information: or

– Paul K. Harral

Fort Worth Business Press

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