Minden Press-Herald

Oct 01st

Safety course takes on water in Houston

It's not often that having something stolen is a happy occasion, but Jerry Madden is thrilled that Houston Safe Boating Council "stole" his children's water safety course.

"They adopted it and did it all summer of 2011 in Houston schools," he said. "So it's a part of their curriculum now."

Madden had originally partnered with schools in Minden to teach a water safety class. He said that his son, who was killed in action December 6 2006 in Iraq, was the main inspiration for him and his wife, Cindy, to hold the new course.

"We did this because nobody else was doing this for children," Madden said. "When our son was alive, he did everything he could for children, so we took it on ourselves to carry on what he wanted to do – which is take care of kids.

"Cindy was teaching music at Minden High School, Harper and Richardson. We got with the principals and guidance counselors and asked them if it was possible we could put on a water safety program for the children."

He said he credits the lack of discipline problems with any of the 250 participating students to using a different philosophy than the norm to reach the children.

"You have got to keep them active," Madden said. "Keep them busy, keep their hands going and their feet going and that way their minds are going as well."

Word of the success of the class spread and while at a convention in Orlando, Florida he was asked to hold another in Houston.

"We went to a conference in Houston and did it in front of many, many people," he said. "We had school kids there and they participated in it."

Unbeknownst to him, Madden was observed by HSBC secretary Candy Capuano-Day. When the two ran into each other recently, she admitted she liked his course so much that HSBC "stole" it.

Currently, he has had interest expressed in taking the program to Dallas, Texas.

For all of his work, Madden was awarded a special honor usually reserved for Texans. Texas governor Rick Perry commissioned him an admiral in the Texas Navy on Valentine's day.

"You have to do something for the citizens of the state of Texas," he said. "I got so many emails from people from Texas I know that said, 'Well, we're going to the dumps, we've got someone from Louisiana.' I said, 'Get over it!'"

Madden teaches adult classes through United States Powered Squadrons/ Shreveport Sail and Powered Squadron. USPS is a non-profit founded in 1914 dedicated to boat safety and skills training.

According to Madden, USPS holds a basic boating class for the general public that is very similar to the class Wildlife and Fisheries teaches. Many more advanced classes are available to members.






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