Everyday Heroes is a new digital series meant to honor the aquatics professionals -- whether they’re lifeguards, facility operators, or other support staff -- who are in the trenches, day in and day out, making a difference in people’s lives.

Our first honoree comes from Leslie Donavan of Starfish Aquatics Institute. Donavan said Sara Poe, SAI's director of operations, immediately came to mind for this recognition.

"Sara has been with SAI for over 12 years and every single client of SAI knows her. As SAI has grown from a small family business into an international agency with programs on every continent, Sara has provided that one-on-one interface that allows every single client to know that they are No. 1 in importance.

"It is challenging to provide excellent customer service in aquatics when many of the issues and questions arise on weekends, holidays, evenings and (when you are global) around the clock. We are not sure when Sara sleeps, because the most common statement about Sara we hear from our clients is that 'she got back to me immediately and solved my problem.'

"When Sara first joined SAI, she knew every client by name (and probably knew their telephone numbers by heart). We were concerned that as we grew, we would lose that personal relationship and 'family feel' that we cherish. However, Sara has almost single handedly kept those relationships alive and clients that join us in 2018 feel as valued as those who have been with us for two decades. Sara doesn't attend conferences and she doesn't speak to large audiences. She has only met a handful of our clients in person. However, there is no question but that she is the face of SAI and more people interacting with SAI know Sara than anyone else associated with the organization!

"Sara is truly the unsung hero of our organization."

If you would like to recognize an Everyday Hero from your facility, please email Joanne McClain at [email protected]