Mullinex family advocates for water safety, adds life jacket stations
May 25, 2017
During the Fourth of July weekend nearly two years ago, citizens of Grand County held their breath as a tragedy played out on Lake Granby.
On July 3, 2015, 31-year-old Grand Lake resident Christopher Mullinex was celebrating Independence Day with friends on a boat on Lake Granby. He dove into the cold high country water and never resurfaced. After a three-day search that included assistance from a Summit County dive team Mullinex's body was recovered on July 6.
In an effort to creating meaning out of tragedy Christopher's family established the Christopher Mullinex Water Rescue Fund. As Chris's mother and family matriarch Dee Mullinex explained, "Our goal is to keep water safety on the minds of everybody, especially our kids. We want them to understand how to stay safe around water."
To that end the Water Rescue Fund is involved in a wide range of activities meant to bolster the overall safety of citizens who enjoy the local lakes and rivers.
"We are working to change people's minds about the importance of life jackets," Dee said.
She stressed the importance of public awareness about the dangers posed by water, especially cold water, as is found in the lakes of Grand County.
The fund constructs and installs life jacket loaner stations throughout the Three Lakes region, holds multiple safety seminars with local students and participates in community events to stress the importance of proper water safety.
This summer the Mullinex Fund plans to continue their safety efforts with the addition of two new life jacket loaner stations on Lake Granby. The stations are an addition to the three previously installed stations, and will be placed at the Stillwater Boat Ramp at Stillwater Campground and at the Sunset Boat Ramp at Sunset Point.
Dee expressed her thanks to the crew at Legacy of Granby who constructed one of the two new stations this year. She also thanked Alpine Lumber, which has donated materials for three of the stations, and Country Ace Hardware, which donated paint for the projects.
"Everybody has just been amazing," Dee said.
Dee noted the Grand Fire Protection District has decided to adopt the loaner station at Sunset Point. The Mullinex Water Rescue Fund is also seeking organizations or groups to adopt the four other stations. Dee explained adoption duties as being similar to the common adopt-a-highway liter patrol system utilized by the state.
"If someone adopts a station they would just need to go out and check on the station a couple times a week," Dee said. "They would make sure it is full and the jackets are in good order. They would be contacting me about every two-weeks to report on the status of the station. They are just keeping an eye on them."
Dee noted the Grand Lake Fire Department has already helped the Water Rescue Fund with the two loaner stations in Grand Lake, one at the East Inlet and the other on the Town Beach. There is also one life jacket station at Beacon Landing that is maintained by the proprietors of that establishment.
Dee said the Water Rescue Fund will be participating in Monday's Memorial Day Parade in Grand Lake where they will display one of the two new loaner stations. Once the parade is over, the new loaner station will be hauled to Sunset Point where it will be installed. The Water Rescue Fund has received requests for two additional life jacket stations, one to be installed at Columbine Lake and an additional station at the East Inlet on Grand Lake.
The Fund is also prepping for the East Grand Middle School sixth-grade health fair.
"We will be teaching water safety to the kids," she said. "We had a great time last year."
For the health fair Mullinex typically has the kids participate in what is called the cold-water demonstration that shows how difficult simple body functions are when in cold water.