NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - Applause and admiration for man most deserving: Captain John McGovern, 68, has saved countless lives since joining the Tobay Beach lifeguards in Oyster Bay in 1967. On Friday, he was honored for 50 years of service.
"It never gets old. It's just a great group of dedicated young men and women and older men and women that really take this job seriously and take a lot of pride in working as lifeguards," Captain McGovern said.
Pride is something the captain has instilled in his team. Younger guards call him a role model and say they have nothing but respect for him. They said the lifeguard team wouldn't be the same without leaders like him.
Tobay Beach lifeguards are required to pass a 400-yard swim in the ocean every year. McGovern has never failed that test and it is not surprising. Ask anyone and they'll tell you working out is part of his daily routine.
The retired physical education teacher, who spends time in Costa Rica with his family, comes back every summer.
Donna McGovern said that every year her husband said he'd go only one more year but then kept coming back. So then he decided to get to 50 years.
"So we'll see what happens next year," Donna said. "He might go to "
As for the legacy he'll leave behind?
"Probably one that will not be able to be topped," Kim McGovern, his son, said. "He's a legend."
"I know the day I walk away, I'm going to miss this place a lot more than this place is going to miss me," Captain McGovern said. "It's a special, special bond we have working together."