Two Lifeguards Walk Off The Job After Stink At Lake Shawnee

By: Brian Dorman Email
By: Brian Dorman Email

Topeka, KS (WIBW)-- Two lifeguards from Shawnee Lake swimming area are no longer working for Shawnee County after an incident Tuesday. It has to do with the discovery of human feces in the water at Lake Shawnee swimming beach.

It was a normal work day Tuesday at the lake for lifeguard Gray Bothwell, what he didn't know was it was going to be his last day as a lifeguard.

It was a typical shift for Bothwell as he and others did a routine sweep at Lake Shawnee's swimming area.

"We noticed an object floating in the water as we got close someone identified it as being human feces," Bothwell said.

Bothwell says there was so much human waste that they called three managers.

"After finding out what we found they told us to get back in the water and do an additional sweep." So the lifeguards went back in the water, "We found some more and in face there were some chunks that started to float up onto the beach."

Meanwhile Bothwell says an announcement was made that there was a maintenance problem, rain checks were given and he says they were told not to tell beach goers what happened. He said he didn't agree with lying and wanted to go home.

"He said that's fine you can go home just don't expect to come back for your job"

So Bothwell went and got his things, "I told a few good-byes to some people and said good luck and then I left."

Kristen Whithorn, Bothwell’s girlfriend and lifeguard at the lake for four years came to work Wednesday to a message by the head manager that said don't talk to media.

"I told her I didn't think what Gray did was wrong. I told her that it thought he felt uncomfortable and when you were that uncomfortable in a situation to speak to people about it."

After thinking about it Whithorn decided she didn't want to work for the county anymore.

"I went up to her and told her that I wanted to make tomorrow my last day. She said go ahead and make it today you can leave now.

John Knight director of parks and rec. for Shawnee County says the life guards did the right thing and they he is going to look at polices for the future. He admitted there were no polices in place at the lake to handle a situation like this. He says no one was terminated and if the two would like to return to their jobs they are more than welcome to.

Both Bothwell and Whithorn told 13 News they are getting ready to go back to nursing school at Washburn University and have no plans on returning to the lake.


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