Reggie Jones has been a lifeguard at 2-West on Jones Beach since 1944. In this American Talkers segment, Reggie tells of the grueling training and tryouts he went through to get his job. After lasting for over three unpaid weeks while competing with over 100 other beach-bound hunks, Reggie exults when he is picked from the crowd: “I thought I had won the Olympics. I said ‘Yes! Yes! There is a God.”

Recorded in New York City. Premiered July 7, 1996, on Weekend Edition Sunday.

This documentary comes from Sound Portraits Productions, a mission-driven independent production company that was created by Dave Isay in 1994. Sound Portraits was the predecessor to StoryCorps and was dedicated to telling stories that brought neglected American voices to a national audience.