"A-adahi Otro" – Protectors of Others


Frederick Hatch (Photo from Dour County Historical Society)


Surfman Frederick Hatch was a two-time winner of the Gold Lifesaving Medal

Frederick Hatch was a surfman and lighthouse keeper who was a two-time Gold Life Saving Medal recipient. Hatch earned his first award while serving in the Life-Saving Service and the second while serving in the Lighthouse Service. The Gold Lifesaving Medal was awarded to life-saving crew members if the rescue or attempted rescue was made at the risk of his own life with evidence of extreme and heroic daring.

Frederick Hatch was awarded his first medal in 1884 for his actions as a surfman at the Cleveland Life-Saving Station for rescuing the crew of the schooner Sophia Minch. During an October gale he volunteered to attempt to reach two men caught in the aft rigging of the vessel. At great risk to his own life he reached the two men and was able to receive the line for a breeches buoy rescue to take the two men and himself safely to shore. Deciding that a surfman’s job was too dangerous, he requested a new assignment. Ironically, he was awarded his second gold medal in 1890, for his selfless act of courage as he rescued those on board the schooner Wahnapitae, which grounded near the Cleveland Breakwater lighthouse where he served as a keeper.